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Abstract

The Cripple Creek district is known for its low-sulfide gold-telluride vein systems of great vertical range (~1,OOOm) with virtually no change in ore grade; however, in the last 10 years shallow, low-grade, bulk-tonnage deposits have been recognized and developed. The deposits are hosted within a Tertiary (32.5–28.2 Ma; Kelley et sl., 1993; 1994) alkaline igneous diatreme-intrusive complex (Thompson et sl., 1985); the ore event (28.2–31.3 Ma; Kelley et el., 1993; 1994) overlaps late-stage igneous activity, suggesting that the ore fluids may have been derived, in part, from that source.

Presented here are the results of research begun in the late Economic Geology Program at Colorado State University in 1982,continuing up to the present (Dwelley, 1984;Trippel, 1985; Nelson, 1989;Wood, 1990;Seibel, 1991;Burnett, 1995). Summaries of mineralogy, wallrock alteration, fluid inclusion data, and preliminary stable isotope data are presented for the hydrothermal system, ranging from deep-level veins up to the shallow, high-level, bulk-tonnage ore systems. The results are preliminary but document the evolution of ore fluid chemistry through the vertical range of the mineral deposit system. The deep veins and shallow, bulktonnage systems are extreme ends of a continuum of fluid evolution as demonstrated by their similar, overlapping geochemical data.

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