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The Pequop Mining District, Elko County, Nevada: An Evolving New Gold District

By
Richard Bedell
Richard Bedell
AuEx, Inc., 940 Matley Lane, Suite 17, Reno, Nevada 89502
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Eric Struhsacker
Eric Struhsacker
AuEx, Inc., 940 Matley Lane, Suite 17, Reno, Nevada 89502
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Lindsay Craig
Lindsay Craig
AuEx, Inc., 940 Matley Lane, Suite 17, Reno, Nevada 89502
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Marilyn Miller
Marilyn Miller
AuEx, Inc., 940 Matley Lane, Suite 17, Reno, Nevada 89502
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Mark Coolbaugh
Mark Coolbaugh
AuEx, Inc., 940 Matley Lane, Suite 17, Reno, Nevada 89502
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Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith
AuEx, Inc., 940 Matley Lane, Suite 17, Reno, Nevada 89502
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Ronald Parratt
Ronald Parratt
AuEx, Inc., 940 Matley Lane, Suite 17, Reno, Nevada 89502
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Published:
January 01, 2010

Abstract

Several gold deposits discovered since 1990 in the central Pequop Mountains of Elko County, northeastern Nevada, make up the new Pequop mining district. The most advanced projects, including Long Canyon and West Pequop, have a combined resource exceeding 42.5 tonnes Au and growing. Favorable open-pit mining economics are generated by high-grade, oxidized gold deposits above the water table.

The deposits exhibit characteristics typical of Carlin-type gold deposits, including limestone and calcareous siliciclastic host rocks, collapse breccias, and <5 micron gold grains in rims of oxidized arsenian pyrite grains. Host rocks are decalcified, argillized, and locally silicified (jasperoid). Some gold mineralization, particularly at Long Canyon, occurs along the margins of competent blocks of Cambrian Notch Peak dolomite in contact with limestone.

The Pequop mining district lies outside the well-known Nevada gold trends. In contrast to many Carlin-type deposits, mineralization is hosted by the Cambrian and Ordovician miogeoclinal sequence of interbedded platform carbonate and siliciclastic rocks. The degree of penetrative deformation and metamorphism is unusually high due to extensive crustal thickening and deep burial during the Jurassic Elko and Cretaceous Sevier orogenies.

Zircon U-Pb dates show that the Pequop Mountains were the site of Jurassic (162–154 Ma), Cretaceous (85–70 Ma), and Eocene (41–39 Ma) intrusive activity, which is observed in other Carlin-type districts. Jurassic mafic to felsic dikes and sills, particularly lamprophyres, form passive hosts to mineralization. Eocene felsic dikes on the western side of the Pequop Mountains are unaltered and unmineralized, they lie within a northeast-trending corridor of gold anomalies, older dikes, and positive aeromagnetic anomalies, which is permissive evidence for an Eocene age of mineralization.

Geophysical anomalies suggest the Pequop district may lie above a prominent break in the continental crust. It is near a west- to northwest-trending conductor, defined by magnetotelluric surveys that may mark the transition between rocks of the Archean Wyoming Province and the Paleoproterozoic Mojave Province. Aeromagnetic data suggest the district is astride a northeastern alignment of intrusions that extends from the Bald Mountain district, located to the southwest, and can be traced northeast to the Tecoma district. Low-frequency filtering of gravity data reveals a distinct northwest-trending boundary that coincides with a similarly oriented trend of barite vein occurrences. These data, along with the ages of intrusions, suggest the district may be underlain by a deep magmatic plumbing system.

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Contents

Special Publications of the Society of Economic Geologists

The Challenge of Finding New Mineral Resources: Global Metallogeny, Innovative Exploration, and New Discoveries

Richard J. Goldfarb
Richard J. Goldfarb
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Erin E. Marsh
Erin E. Marsh
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Thomas Monecke
Thomas Monecke
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
15 (1)
ISBN electronic:
9781629490397
Publication date:
January 01, 2010

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