Field Trip Day Two: Magmatic and Hydrothermal Features of the Yerington Batholith with Emphasis on the Porphyry Cu(Mo) Deposit in the Ann-Mason Area
John H. Dilles, John Proffett, Marco T. Einaudi, 2000. "Field Trip Day Two: Magmatic and Hydrothermal Features of the Yerington Batholith with Emphasis on the Porphyry Cu(Mo) Deposit in the Ann-Mason Area", Part I. Contrasting Styles of Intrusion-Associated Hydrothermal Systems: Part II. Geology & Gold Deposits of the Getchell Region, John H. Dilles, Mark D. Barton, David A. Johnson, John M. Proffett, Marco T. Einaudi, Elizabeth Jones Crafford
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THE PURPOSE of this one-day tour is to examine time-space relationships of hydrothermal alteration features and associated porphyry Cu(Mo) and Cu-Fe-Au mineralization, and the relationship of these hydrothermal features to the magmatic history of the Yerington batholith. The batholith exposures we will examine represent an intermediate between the Birch Creek and Buena Vista end members. At Yerington, mag-matic brines were essential to formation of porphyry Cu(Mo) deposits, but at the same time a huge hydrothermal system driven by the batholithic heat was dominated by sedimentary brines and produced Fe oxide-Cu-Au ores distal to the porphyry centers. It will be advantageous to read the papers in this guidebook by Dilles and Proffett (1995) and Dilles et al. (2000) that provide summaries of the magmatic and hy-drothermal histories, respectively, of the Yerington batholith.
The descriptions and maps below are lengthy because of the complexity of the exposures and large size of the intrusion-related hydrothermal system. This tour can be accomplished in a leisurely fashion in two days, but can be done in one. There are two short hikes and nine roadside stops.
Figures & Tables
Part I. Contrasting Styles of Intrusion-Associated Hydrothermal Systems: Part II. Geology & Gold Deposits of the Getchell Region
Intrusion-related hydrothermal systems represent a large variety of geologic environments that in some cases form large metallic mineral deposits. The deposits examined in this trip represent the spectrum from systems dominated by magmatic fluid (Birch Creek, California and Yerington, Nevada) to those systems in which intrusions serve as heat engines to drive convectively circulating brines derived from sedimentary rocks (Hum-boldt, Nevada). In these examples, nonmagmatic fluids are largely excluded from more deeply emplaced intrusions in a compressive environment, and the hydrothermal composition and ores (e.g., granite W-F, Cu porphyry and skarn) are dictated by the composition of the magma and its mechanism of crystallization and aqueous fluid generation. Magmatic fluids are less important in the shallow crustal ore environment, but apparently contribute to acidic alteration zones located vertically above source intrusions. Using Humboldt as an example, we propose that the Fe oxide Cu-Au ores in the shallow environment require an abundant source of sedimentary brines (typical of evaporitic environments), high fracture permeability (promoted by an exten-sional setting) to allow aqueous fluid flow and dike emplacement, and shallowly emplaced intrusions to serve as heat sources.
IGNEOUS-RELATED hydrothermal systems constitute the most varied type of geologic environment, ranging in tectonic setting from spreading centers to collisional belts, in depth from the surface to the deep crust, and in sources of materials from purely magmatic to largely external. They comprise perhaps the single most important ore-forming environment, yet most igneous systems lack economically significant mineralization. This variety is attributable to igneous factors such as volatile content and its evolution from the intrusion, and to external factors that include depth of emplacement, host rocks, tectonic environment, and structural setting, which control permeability and access of external fluids to the crystallized intrusion and its contact aureole.
This field trip examines three large but markedly different intrusion-centered hydrothermal systems in the western Great Basin of California and Nevada (Fig. 1, Table 1). Each example represents a major group of these systems worldwide. The field emphasis will be on examining mass transfer features—such as mechanisms for igneous emplacement, degassing of magmatic-aqueous fluids, and fracturing and ductile deformation—that allow variation from near-lithostatic to hydrostatic conditions, incursion of nonmagmatic fluids into the high-temperature environment, and hydrothermal alteration, vein deposition, and wall-rock replacement via aqueous fluids. The broader questions of metallogenic provinces and processes will be raised as a context for the specific sites examined.
The overall emphasis of this trip will be on documenting and understanding the dynamics of igneous-related hydrothermal systems.