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Hydrothermal ore deposits are formed when metal components precipitate from migrating solutions. The causes of fluid movement are reviewed for several deposit settings: hydrothermal circulation near a mid-ocean ridge spreading center (Cyprus-type massive sulfide deposits), convection associated with intrusives in an island-arc or continental setting (geothermal systems, porphyry copper and uranium vein deposits), and the stratafugic flow of pore fluids from compacting basins (Mississippi Pb-Zn and certain types of sedimentary copper deposits). Attention is focused particularly on the amount of fluid flow that can be produced by various mechanisms, the length of time such flow can persist, the aspects of fluid flow that have practical exploration significance, and the insights fluid flow models provide for deposit genesis. Simple analytic expressions are derived and a diagram is constructed that allow easy estimation of the time required for an instrusion to cool and the amount and rate of hydrothermal circulation produced in the process. Theoretical and field studies are reviewed to obtain an upper bound on the bulk fluid-rock mass ratio produced by natural convective systems. Areas are identified where further work is needed.

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