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The most important zinc deposits in Tennessee occur in a narrow stratigraphic zone about 200 feet thick in Lower Ordovician dolomitized limestone and dolomite. The ore-bearing zone constitutes less than 4% of the carbonate section of which it is a part. The remarkable selectivity of the mineralization with respect to this very restricted horizon appears to be related to the great permeability which was established initially by post-Lower Ordovician pre-Middle Ordovician weathering that extended to depths of 800 feet below the surface of the Mascot Formation. The limestone horizons of the lower Kingsport formation probably were a significant factor in the development and localization of the zones of permeability and in the genesis of the zinc deposits. The release of connate water from the limestones is suggested as a possible mechanism or factor in the preparation of the host rock for ore deposition and this process may have played an active role in the mineralization. It appears to be significant that the greatest concentration of sphalerite deposition was at depths below the surface of the Lower Ordovician Mascot formation of between 600 feet and 800 feet. The mineralization was accomplished either before or during an early stage in the Middle Ordovician marine sedimentation. Although there are no known igneous rocks which might have been a source of metal or energy, there appears to be a mineral zoning associated with these Ordovician zinc deposits. It is suggested that genetic theory would be advanced significantly by regional geochemical study.

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