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At depths greater than several kilometers in the crust, elevated temperature, elevated confining pressure, and the presence of reactive pore fluids typically drive rapid destruction of permeability in fractured and porous rock. Ongoing deformation is required to regenerate permeability and facilitate the high fluid flux necessary to produce hydrothermal ore systems. A dominant influence on the development of fluid pathways in hydrothermal systems is provided by stress states, fluid pressures, and reactions that drive permeability enhancement and compete with permeability destruction processes.

Fluid redistribution within hydrothermal systems at depth in the crust is governed largely by hydraulic gradients between...

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