Comparative geology and geochemistry with respect to precious metal mineralization of selected California Coast Range mercury mining districts
AuthorShields, Hilbert Nathaniel
Geological Sciences & Engineering
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The geochemical relationship between mercury deposits and precious metal occurrences was studied in seven California mercury mining districts. Four hundred thirty-four rock, stream sediment, soil and mercury retort tailings samples from seven districts were analyzed for Au, Ag, Hg, Sb, As, and Te. The study confirmed that gold and silver are associated with the Coast Range mercury districts. The mineralization appears to be more strongly controlled by high angle faults rather than by rock type. Statistical studies have demonstrated that viable precious metal targets are more likely to be localized in volcanic and/or young marine sedimentary rocks (as opposed to silica-carbonate rocks). A strong element grouping between Au, Hg, Sb, and As was found to be characteristic of silica-carbonate rocks. A statistically unrelated suite was formed by Ag and Te which was characteristic of gold bearing volcanic and sedimentary marine rocks. Those mercury districts localized about high angle faults in volcanic or marine sedimentary rocks are apparently more receptive to Au and Ag mineralization and should constitute the primary target hosts in precious metal prospecting.
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precious metal occurrences
mercury mining districts
steam sediment samples
mercury retort tailings samples
high angle faults
viable precious metal targets
young marine sedimentary rocks