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Mineral Deposits and Plate Tectonics1

George P. Woollard
George P. Woollard
Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822. Deceased, April 1979.
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January 01, 1981


Metallogenesis, through the mechanism of plate tectonics, has contributed to the formation of ore deposits in continental areas as well as within oceanic crust and the sea floor. Evidence for metallogenesis occurring on the sea floor includes the presence of copper in lava flows entering the sea off Hawaii; veins of ore found in deep-sea cores; high concentrations of ore in sediments near oceanic spreading centers and in deep-sea brines; and mineral concentrations in deep-sea manganese nodules. Because these minerals are found in abundance in oceanic trenches, and there is no evidence of extensive scraping off of sediments when an oceanic plate is subducted, the mineralized sediments appear to be subducted along with the crystalline rock section. Therefore, there is little reason to question that mineralized oceanic sediments, crust, and upper mantle material are being subducted beneath orogenic areas such as the Andes, and have contributed to the ore deposits now found in such areas.

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Energy Resources of the Pacific Region

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1981




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