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In Chapter 1, R. W. Henley summarized our understanding of the chemical and hydrodynamic structure and the transport properties of active hydrothermal systems, with particular emphasis on terrestrial magmatic-hydrothermal systems. Such an overview is especially valuable because active geothermal systems are modern “archetypes” of the ancient systems which concentrated metals in their upper portions to form epithermal ore deposits. More than any other factor, the study of active systems has provided the framework on which the observations on epithermal deposits have been arranged in the relatively recent development of comprehensive models of epithermal ore formation. The Principle of Uniformitarianism has served us well in this instance.

In this chapter, we focus on observations on epithermal ore deposits in continental silicic to andesitic volcanic terranes. Volcanic-hosted deposits offer the most direct comparison with many of the well-studied modern geothermal systems. We first compare the attributes from a number of epithermal ore deposits and show how they may be used to identify two important, and distinct volcanic-related hydrothermal environments. We then examine the best-studied deposit of each type: Creede and Summitville, both of which are located in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. In so doing, we are able to examine epithermal deposits for evidences of processes that are now occurring in geothermal systems. Finally, we use the observational base and interpretations derived from each deposit type to develop generalized “geothermal” models of mineralization. The models have been taken, in large part, from the excellent synthesis by Henley and Ellis

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