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Corresponding author: e-mail, msmith@pilotgold.com

Abstract

For the last several decades, gold exploration in Nevada has been strongly focused on sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in the Carlin, Cortez, Independence, and Getchell trends in north-central Nevada. Accordingly, less exploration activity has been directed toward the search for similar gold deposits in the eastern Great Basin, south and east of the major trends.

Deposits in the central and northern Carlin and Cortez trends are hosted primarily in Upper Devonian middle slope soft-sediment slumps and slides and base-of-slope carbonate debris flows, turbidites, and enclosing in situ fractured lime mudstones. This is in marked contrast to gold deposits in the eastern Great Basin that are hosted primarily in three chronostratigraphic horizons: (1) shallow-water, Cambrian and Ordovician carbonate platform interior, supratidal karsted horizons and shelf lagoon strata, associated with eustatic sea-level lowstands and superjacent, transgressive calcareous shale and siltstone horizons that are deposited as sea level begins to rise, (2) Early Mississippian foreland basin turbidites and debris flows overlying karsted Late Devonian platform strata, and (3) Pennsylvanian and Permian shallow marine basin strata. Stratigraphic architecture in these three horizons was influenced in part by Mesozoic (Elko and Sevier) contractional deformation, including low-angle thrust and attenuation faults, boudinage, and large-scale folds, which in turn affected the orientation and localization of synmineral brittle normal faults.

A compilation of past production, reserves, and resources (including historic and inferred) suggests an overall endowment of over 41 Moz of gold (1,275 tonnes) discovered to date in the eastern Great Basin, some in relatively large deposits. Significant clusters of deposits include the Rain-Emigrant-Railroad and Bald Mountain-Alligator Ridge areas on the southern extension of the Carlin trend, the Ruby Hill-Windfall-South Lookout-Pan on the southern extension of the Cortez trend, and the Long Canyon-West Pequop-Kinsley Mountain area near Wells, Nevada. Sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits extend to the eastern edge of the Great Basin in Utah and Idaho and include the past-producing Black Pine, Barney’s Canyon, Mercur, and Goldstrike mines. The recognition of widespread, favorable host rocks and depositional environments on the Paleozoic platform-interior shelf in the eastern Great Basin opens up vast areas that have been relatively underexplored in the past.

A basic premise throughout this paper is that the better we understand the origin of rocks and the depositional and postdepositional processes under which they formed, the more accurately we can make well-founded stratigraphic, sedimentological, structural, geochemical, and diagenetic interpretations. Without this understanding, as well as the rigorous application of multiple working hypotheses to explain our observations, the advance of science and the discovery of gold deposits is problematic.

Introduction

Northeastern Nevada is endowed with a large number of Carlin-style sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits with resources, reserves, and/or gold production. Since the discovery of the Carlin deposit in 1961, and particularly since the development of technologies to recover gold from low-grade oxide and refractory ores, 86.1 Moz of gold (2,678 tonnes [t]) have been recovered from the Carlin trend alone through 2015 (Muntean et al., 2017).

As summarized by Hofstra and Cline (2000), Cline et al. (2005), and Muntean (2018), Carlin-type gold mineralization is characterized by the presence of gold in the crystal structure of arsenian, trace element-rich pyrite, either in typically micron-sized grains or as micron-sized rims on preore pyrite. Hydrothermal alteration is characterized by decarbonatization (dissolution of carbonate) commonly accompanied by silicification, argillization of silicates to illite and/or kaolinite/dickite, formation of massive jasperoid bodies, and associated stibnite, orpiment, and realgar. The depositional mechanism for gold involves destabilization of aqueous gold sulfide complexes by sulfidation of reactive iron in the host rocks, commonly ferroan carbonates. Host rocks typically consist of limy siliciclastic siltstones and siliciclastic detritus-bearing limestones deposited as turbidites, debris flows, and soft-sediment slumps and slides on the ancient continental slope and base-of-slope or on the slope and base-of-slope of carbonate seamounts such as the Comus carbonate seamount along the Getchell trend (Cook, 2014, 2015). A number of researchers tie the genesis of these deposits to magmas and hydrothermal fluids ascending pathways created by deep-seated structures along the Late Proterozoic rifted cratonic margin (e.g., Cline et al., 2005; Emsbo et al., 2006; Muntean et al., 2007).

Gold deposits are aligned on distinct trends, including the Carlin, Battle Mountain-Cortez-Eureka, Getchell, and Independence trends. Host rocks range in age from primarily Late Silurian through Late Devonian in the Carlin and Cortez trends to primarily Late Cambrian through Early Silurian along the Getchell and Independence trends. In accordance with the model, most of the exploration expenditures over the last several decades have focused primarily on Devonian continental slope facies strata in the central and northern portions of the Carlin and Cortez trends and in Cambrian-Ordovician strata to the west and north in the Getchell and Independence trends. The shallow-water platform interior shelf lagoons, thought to be composed of unsuitable host rocks and lacking deep-seated structures to introduce gold-bearing fluids, lie beyond to the south and east.

However, a paradigm shift has taken place in recent years as discoveries or advancements of medium to large deposits have been made on the shelf and platform, leading to reinterpretation of platform interior, shelf lagoon strata and structures (e.g., Cook, 2015). Resources and reserves published recently include the following:

  1. Long Canyon (1,170,000 oz [36.4 t] of proven and probable reserve and 2,020,000 oz/62.8 t of measured, indicated, and inferred resource; Newmont 2016 reserve statement)

  2. Pinion (1,711,000 oz [53.2 t] of indicated and inferred resource; Dufresne et al., 2017)

  3. Kinsley (527,000 oz [16.4 t] indicated and inferred resource; Gustin et al., 2015)

Long-lived deposits and operations include Bald Mountain (over 10 Moz in resources, reserves, and past production) and Ruby Hill/Archimedes (over 5 Moz in resources, reserves, and past production). A full list of deposits and their endowments is given in Table 1.

Table 1.

Sedimentary Rock-Hosted Gold Mines, Past-Producing Mines, Deposits, and Significant Prospects in the Shelf Area of the Great Basin

PropertyLatitudeLongitudeStatusReserve oz Au1Reserve tonnes Au1Grade g/tResource oz Au2Resource tonnes Au2Grade g/t3
Alligator Ridge39.760–115.517Producer      
Antelope39.900–114.46Exploration   17,000 0.6
Bald Mountain39.967–115.595Producer2,460,00076.50.624,338,236134.90.56
Barney’s Canyon/Melco40.587–112.157Past producer      
Bellview40.086–115.63Exploration   35,0001.11.33
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)42.078–113.042Past producer, exploration   501,84815.60.47
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   211,0006.60.93
Dark Star40.460–115.965Exploration   980,90030.50.54, 1.31
Drum39.526–113.01Past producer, exploration      
Emigrant40.618–115.973Producer1,240,00038.6    
Goldrock39.180–115.673Development   1,049,00032.60.69, 0.79
Goldstrike, Utah37.386–113.882Past producer, exploration      
Gollaher41.880–114.44Exploration      
Green Springs39.140–115.553Past producer      
Griffon39.100–115.25Past producer   34,0001.10.76
Illipah39.459–115.448Past producer   34,0001.11.23
Jones Creek41.954–113.41Exploration   18,1110.60.6
KB41.468–114.045Exploration   40,0001.20.72
Kinsley40.150–114.36Past producer, exploration   527,00016.41.13, 2.27
Limousine/Golden Butte39.888–115.048Past producer, exploration   291,7809.10.70–0.77
Long Canyon40.978–114.526Producer1,170,00036.42.092,020,00062.81.86, 3.52
Maverick Springs40.135–115.3093Exploration   1,370,70042.60.3
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon40.315–112.197Past producer   95,0003.01.2
Mineral Mountain37.392–113.933Exploration   41,1441.30.42
Morgan Pass40.668–114.306Exploration      
North Bullion40.463–116Exploration   895,80027.90.43–3.29
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)40.125–113.81Exploration   73,0002.30.86
Pan39.301–115.756Development   915,00028.50.42
Pinion40.463–116Advanced exploration   1,711,60053.2.55, .62
Pony Creek40.350–115.98Exploration   1,380,00042.91.51
Rain40.614–116.0098Past producer      
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   143,0004.40.72
Ruby Hill-Archimedes39.526–115.986Producer140,0244.40.974,211,246131.0 
Sand Pass39.580–113.38Exploration   8,0000.20.69
Sandy37.600–115.85Exploration      
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)39.420–116Past producer, exploration   649,00020.20.53
South Eureka (South Adit)39.420–115.97Exploration   45,0001.4 
Windfall39.440–115.98Past producer      
South Railroad (Trout Creek)40.530–116.086Advanced exploration   520,00016.20.9
Spruce40.550–114.874Exploration      
Star Pointer39.253–114.98Past producer      
Taylor39.166–114.737Past producer (Ag)      
Tug41.422–114.032Advanced exploration   242,3437.50.82
Washington Dome37.108–113.47Exploration   67,0002.10.9
West Peqoup40.964–114.613Advanced exploration   313,5709.81.45
White Pine40.006–115.731Exploration   34,0001.11.13
Wood Hills South40.909–114.787Exploration      
Total   5,010,024155.8 22,813,278709.5 
PropertyLatitudeLongitudeStatusReserve oz Au1Reserve tonnes Au1Grade g/tResource oz Au2Resource tonnes Au2Grade g/t3
Alligator Ridge39.760–115.517Producer      
Antelope39.900–114.46Exploration   17,000 0.6
Bald Mountain39.967–115.595Producer2,460,00076.50.624,338,236134.90.56
Barney’s Canyon/Melco40.587–112.157Past producer      
Bellview40.086–115.63Exploration   35,0001.11.33
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)42.078–113.042Past producer, exploration   501,84815.60.47
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   211,0006.60.93
Dark Star40.460–115.965Exploration   980,90030.50.54, 1.31
Drum39.526–113.01Past producer, exploration      
Emigrant40.618–115.973Producer1,240,00038.6    
Goldrock39.180–115.673Development   1,049,00032.60.69, 0.79
Goldstrike, Utah37.386–113.882Past producer, exploration      
Gollaher41.880–114.44Exploration      
Green Springs39.140–115.553Past producer      
Griffon39.100–115.25Past producer   34,0001.10.76
Illipah39.459–115.448Past producer   34,0001.11.23
Jones Creek41.954–113.41Exploration   18,1110.60.6
KB41.468–114.045Exploration   40,0001.20.72
Kinsley40.150–114.36Past producer, exploration   527,00016.41.13, 2.27
Limousine/Golden Butte39.888–115.048Past producer, exploration   291,7809.10.70–0.77
Long Canyon40.978–114.526Producer1,170,00036.42.092,020,00062.81.86, 3.52
Maverick Springs40.135–115.3093Exploration   1,370,70042.60.3
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon40.315–112.197Past producer   95,0003.01.2
Mineral Mountain37.392–113.933Exploration   41,1441.30.42
Morgan Pass40.668–114.306Exploration      
North Bullion40.463–116Exploration   895,80027.90.43–3.29
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)40.125–113.81Exploration   73,0002.30.86
Pan39.301–115.756Development   915,00028.50.42
Pinion40.463–116Advanced exploration   1,711,60053.2.55, .62
Pony Creek40.350–115.98Exploration   1,380,00042.91.51
Rain40.614–116.0098Past producer      
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   143,0004.40.72
Ruby Hill-Archimedes39.526–115.986Producer140,0244.40.974,211,246131.0 
Sand Pass39.580–113.38Exploration   8,0000.20.69
Sandy37.600–115.85Exploration      
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)39.420–116Past producer, exploration   649,00020.20.53
South Eureka (South Adit)39.420–115.97Exploration   45,0001.4 
Windfall39.440–115.98Past producer      
South Railroad (Trout Creek)40.530–116.086Advanced exploration   520,00016.20.9
Spruce40.550–114.874Exploration      
Star Pointer39.253–114.98Past producer      
Taylor39.166–114.737Past producer (Ag)      
Tug41.422–114.032Advanced exploration   242,3437.50.82
Washington Dome37.108–113.47Exploration   67,0002.10.9
West Peqoup40.964–114.613Advanced exploration   313,5709.81.45
White Pine40.006–115.731Exploration   34,0001.11.13
Wood Hills South40.909–114.787Exploration      
Total   5,010,024155.8 22,813,278709.5 
PropertyProduction oz AuProduction tonnes AuGrade g/t3Primary ore hostHost ageSecondary ore hostHost age
Alligator Ridge660,000  Pilot shaleMississippianGuillmette FormationDevonian
Antelope   Pilot shale/Joana Ls.Mississippian  
Bald Mountain2,541,35679.00.38–2.30Dunderberg, Pogonip, WindfallUpper CambrianPilot, Joana, ChainmanMississippian
Barney’s Canyon/Melco1,835,94057.11.44–2.40Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanianPark CityPermian
Bellview32,0001.0 Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianEldorado DolomiteMiddle Cambrian
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)615,79419.20.52–1.73Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanian  
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Dark Star   Moleen Fm., Tomera Fm.Pennsylvanian  
Drum126,4353.91.23Chisholm, Howell, Tatlow Fms.Middle Cambrian  
Emigrant20,7380.6 Webb FormationMississippian  
Goldrock52,4001.6 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Goldstrike, Utah209,0006.51.2Calville Ls.PennsylvanianClaronEocene
Gollaher   UndifferentiatedPennsylvanianUndifferentiatedPermian
Green Springs87,0002.72.1Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Griffon100,0003.1 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Illipah54,0001.7 Pilot/JoanaMississippian  
Jones Creek   Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
KB   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Kinsley138,0004.31.3Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianDunderberg shaleUpper Cambrian
Limousine/Golden Butte43,5191.4 Pilot ShaleMississippianUndifferentiatedDevonian
Long Canyon99,0003.1 Lower PogonipOrdovicianUpper Notch PeakUpper Cambrian
Maverick Springs   Rib Hill FormationPermian  
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon3,565,691110.91.03–6.79Great Blue FormationMississippian  
Mineral Mountain   Claron sandstoneTertiaryCallville limestone 
Pennsylvanian       
Morgan Pass   Pogonip GroupCambrianPogonip GroupOrdovician
North Bullion   Webb-Tripon PassMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)   Ochre Mountain Fm., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Pan21,3160.7 Pilot shaleMississippian  
Pinion   Webb FormationMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Pony Creek   Chainman shaleMississippian  
Rain1,327,00041.3 Webb FormationMississippian  
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Ruby Hill-Archimedes1,403,74743.70.69–4.41Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
Sand Pass   Howell, ChisholmMiddle Cambrian  
Sandy   Dunderberg Sh.Middle Cambrian  
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)17,7000.64.11Dunderberg Sh., Hamburg Dol.Upper CambrianSecret Canyon shaleMiddle Cambrian
South Eureka(South Adit)   Dunderberg Sh.Upper Cambrian  
Windfall330,00010.31.0–12.0Hamburg DolomiteUpper Cambrian  
South Railroad (Trout Creek)   Webb FormationMississippian  
Spruce   Pogonip Gp., Notch Peak Fm.OrdovicianPilot shaleMississippian
Star Pointer98,2073.1~3Rib Hill FormationE. Permian  
Taylor   Joana Ls., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Tug   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Washington Dome   Kaibab Fm.Lower Permian  
West Peqoup   Shafter, Oasis, CandlandUpper CambrianPogonipOrdovician
White Pine20,6540.6 Pilot ShaleMississippian  
Wood Hills South   UndifferentiatedCambrianUndifferentiatedOrdovician
Total13,399,497416.7 Total endowment41,224,081 oz1,282 t 
PropertyProduction oz AuProduction tonnes AuGrade g/t3Primary ore hostHost ageSecondary ore hostHost age
Alligator Ridge660,000  Pilot shaleMississippianGuillmette FormationDevonian
Antelope   Pilot shale/Joana Ls.Mississippian  
Bald Mountain2,541,35679.00.38–2.30Dunderberg, Pogonip, WindfallUpper CambrianPilot, Joana, ChainmanMississippian
Barney’s Canyon/Melco1,835,94057.11.44–2.40Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanianPark CityPermian
Bellview32,0001.0 Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianEldorado DolomiteMiddle Cambrian
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)615,79419.20.52–1.73Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanian  
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Dark Star   Moleen Fm., Tomera Fm.Pennsylvanian  
Drum126,4353.91.23Chisholm, Howell, Tatlow Fms.Middle Cambrian  
Emigrant20,7380.6 Webb FormationMississippian  
Goldrock52,4001.6 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Goldstrike, Utah209,0006.51.2Calville Ls.PennsylvanianClaronEocene
Gollaher   UndifferentiatedPennsylvanianUndifferentiatedPermian
Green Springs87,0002.72.1Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Griffon100,0003.1 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Illipah54,0001.7 Pilot/JoanaMississippian  
Jones Creek   Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
KB   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Kinsley138,0004.31.3Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianDunderberg shaleUpper Cambrian
Limousine/Golden Butte43,5191.4 Pilot ShaleMississippianUndifferentiatedDevonian
Long Canyon99,0003.1 Lower PogonipOrdovicianUpper Notch PeakUpper Cambrian
Maverick Springs   Rib Hill FormationPermian  
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon3,565,691110.91.03–6.79Great Blue FormationMississippian  
Mineral Mountain   Claron sandstoneTertiaryCallville limestone 
Pennsylvanian       
Morgan Pass   Pogonip GroupCambrianPogonip GroupOrdovician
North Bullion   Webb-Tripon PassMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)   Ochre Mountain Fm., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Pan21,3160.7 Pilot shaleMississippian  
Pinion   Webb FormationMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Pony Creek   Chainman shaleMississippian  
Rain1,327,00041.3 Webb FormationMississippian  
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Ruby Hill-Archimedes1,403,74743.70.69–4.41Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
Sand Pass   Howell, ChisholmMiddle Cambrian  
Sandy   Dunderberg Sh.Middle Cambrian  
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)17,7000.64.11Dunderberg Sh., Hamburg Dol.Upper CambrianSecret Canyon shaleMiddle Cambrian
South Eureka(South Adit)   Dunderberg Sh.Upper Cambrian  
Windfall330,00010.31.0–12.0Hamburg DolomiteUpper Cambrian  
South Railroad (Trout Creek)   Webb FormationMississippian  
Spruce   Pogonip Gp., Notch Peak Fm.OrdovicianPilot shaleMississippian
Star Pointer98,2073.1~3Rib Hill FormationE. Permian  
Taylor   Joana Ls., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Tug   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Washington Dome   Kaibab Fm.Lower Permian  
West Peqoup   Shafter, Oasis, CandlandUpper CambrianPogonipOrdovician
White Pine20,6540.6 Pilot ShaleMississippian  
Wood Hills South   UndifferentiatedCambrianUndifferentiatedOrdovician
Total13,399,497416.7 Total endowment41,224,081 oz1,282 t 
PropertyCurrent operatorCommentsSourceType
Alligator RidgeKinross Gold Corporation1993–1995 production; other data merged with Bald Mtn.Muntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
AntelopeLogan ResourcesHistoric, non-43-101 compliant resourceUnpublished Phelps Dodge filesCarlin
Bald MountainKinross/Barrick43-101 compliant, proven/probable, M, I & I as of December 2013Barrick website; S&P Global market intelligenceDistal isseminated
Barney’s Canyon/MelcoKennecott43-101 compliantKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
BellviewAlianza Minerals Ltd.Historic, noncompliant resourceMuntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)Pilot Gold (USA) Inc.Historic noncompliant unclassified, historic productionS&P Global market intelligence; Shaddrick, 2013Carlin
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Dark StarGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant I & I, as of 2017Dufresne and Nicholls, 2017Carlin
DrumPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionKrahulic, 2011Carlin
EmigrantNewmont Mining CorporationUnclassified reserve and production as of 2012Muntean and Davis, 2013; Sabo, 2013Carlin
GoldrockFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, M, I & I, as of June 2014Lane et al., 2014Carlin
Goldstrike, UtahPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionWillden, 2006Carlin
GollaherWest Kirkland Mining Inc.Early-stage prospectWKM websiteCarlin
Green SpringsEly Gold and Minerals Inc.Estimated historic productionS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
GriffonPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionAlta Gold unpublished company reportsCarlin
IllipahAllied Nevada/Tornado GoldEstimated historic productionLaravie, 2012Carlin
Jones CreekJ. RobinsonHistoric, noncompliant resourceJ. Robinson, written commun.Carlin
KBWest KirklandHistoric, noncompliantWest Kirkland websiteCarlin
KinsleyPilot Gold (USA)Historic production, 43-101 compliant I & I resourceGustin et al., 2015Carlin
Limousine/Golden ButteMcEwan Mining Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of December 2013Brown et al., 2009; Muntean and Davis, 2013Distal disseminated
Long CanyonNewmont Mining Corporation43-101 compliant, probable, M, I & I as of December 2016; production from 2016 and 2017 Newmont quarterly reportsNewmont 2016 reservesCarlin
Maverick SpringsAllied Nevada GoldHistoric, noncompliant, I & I as of December 2007; estimated 155 Moz AgS&P Global market intelligence?
Mercur/Sunshine CanyonBarrick Gold CorporationEstimated historic productionKrahulec, 2011Carlin
Mineral MountainPilot Gold (USA) Inc.43-101 compliant inferred, as of 2010; historical noncompliant as of 2016Puchlik, 2010; Gustin and Smith, 2016Carlin
Morgan PassNewmont43-101 compliant, I & I, includes Pod and Sweet HollowS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
North BullionGold Standard Ventures Inc. Gold Standard Ventures, 2017Carlin
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)Desert HawkHistoric, noncompiant, unclassifiedKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
PanFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, P & P and M, I & Ias of June 2014Rowe et al., 2018; Muntean et al., 2017Carlin
PinionGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of 2017Dufresne et al., 2017Carlin
Pony CreekAllied Nevada Gold43-101 compliant, inferred (2004); highly suspect numberBerger et al., 2014Distal disseminated
RainNewmont Mining CorporationHistoricalS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Ruby Hill-ArchimedesBarrick Gold Corporation43-101 compliant, P & P reserve, M, I & I resource as of December 2013S&P Global intelligence; Russell, 2000Carlin
Sand PassBronco CreekHistoric, noncompliantKrahulec, 2011Carlin
SandyPilot Gold (USA) Pilot Gold filesCarlin
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
South Eureka (South Adit)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
WindfallTimberline Resources CorporationEsimated historical underground and open pitBerger et al., 2014Carlin
South Railroad (Trout Creek)Gold Standard Ventures Inc.Historical, noncompliant, unclassifiedGold Standard press release, August 2012Carlin
SpruceRenaissance Gold/Sumitomo Renaissance Gold websiteDistal disseminated
Star PointerKGHM U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Data SystemDistal disseminated
TaylorSilver Predator Silver Predator websiteDistal disseminated
TugWest Kirkland43-101 compliant I & I as of April 2014West Kirkland websiteCarlin
Washington Dome?Historic, noncompliantUtah Geological SurveyCarlin
West PeqoupAgnico Eagle-Newmont43-101 compliant I & I as of July 2010Moran and Davies, 2010Carlin
White Pine?Historic, noncompliantMuntean et al., 2012Carlin
Wood Hills SouthRenaissance Gold/NewmontEarly-stage prospectRenaissance Gold websiteCarlin
PropertyCurrent operatorCommentsSourceType
Alligator RidgeKinross Gold Corporation1993–1995 production; other data merged with Bald Mtn.Muntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
AntelopeLogan ResourcesHistoric, non-43-101 compliant resourceUnpublished Phelps Dodge filesCarlin
Bald MountainKinross/Barrick43-101 compliant, proven/probable, M, I & I as of December 2013Barrick website; S&P Global market intelligenceDistal isseminated
Barney’s Canyon/MelcoKennecott43-101 compliantKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
BellviewAlianza Minerals Ltd.Historic, noncompliant resourceMuntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)Pilot Gold (USA) Inc.Historic noncompliant unclassified, historic productionS&P Global market intelligence; Shaddrick, 2013Carlin
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Dark StarGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant I & I, as of 2017Dufresne and Nicholls, 2017Carlin
DrumPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionKrahulic, 2011Carlin
EmigrantNewmont Mining CorporationUnclassified reserve and production as of 2012Muntean and Davis, 2013; Sabo, 2013Carlin
GoldrockFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, M, I & I, as of June 2014Lane et al., 2014Carlin
Goldstrike, UtahPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionWillden, 2006Carlin
GollaherWest Kirkland Mining Inc.Early-stage prospectWKM websiteCarlin
Green SpringsEly Gold and Minerals Inc.Estimated historic productionS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
GriffonPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionAlta Gold unpublished company reportsCarlin
IllipahAllied Nevada/Tornado GoldEstimated historic productionLaravie, 2012Carlin
Jones CreekJ. RobinsonHistoric, noncompliant resourceJ. Robinson, written commun.Carlin
KBWest KirklandHistoric, noncompliantWest Kirkland websiteCarlin
KinsleyPilot Gold (USA)Historic production, 43-101 compliant I & I resourceGustin et al., 2015Carlin
Limousine/Golden ButteMcEwan Mining Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of December 2013Brown et al., 2009; Muntean and Davis, 2013Distal disseminated
Long CanyonNewmont Mining Corporation43-101 compliant, probable, M, I & I as of December 2016; production from 2016 and 2017 Newmont quarterly reportsNewmont 2016 reservesCarlin
Maverick SpringsAllied Nevada GoldHistoric, noncompliant, I & I as of December 2007; estimated 155 Moz AgS&P Global market intelligence?
Mercur/Sunshine CanyonBarrick Gold CorporationEstimated historic productionKrahulec, 2011Carlin
Mineral MountainPilot Gold (USA) Inc.43-101 compliant inferred, as of 2010; historical noncompliant as of 2016Puchlik, 2010; Gustin and Smith, 2016Carlin
Morgan PassNewmont43-101 compliant, I & I, includes Pod and Sweet HollowS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
North BullionGold Standard Ventures Inc. Gold Standard Ventures, 2017Carlin
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)Desert HawkHistoric, noncompiant, unclassifiedKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
PanFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, P & P and M, I & Ias of June 2014Rowe et al., 2018; Muntean et al., 2017Carlin
PinionGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of 2017Dufresne et al., 2017Carlin
Pony CreekAllied Nevada Gold43-101 compliant, inferred (2004); highly suspect numberBerger et al., 2014Distal disseminated
RainNewmont Mining CorporationHistoricalS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Ruby Hill-ArchimedesBarrick Gold Corporation43-101 compliant, P & P reserve, M, I & I resource as of December 2013S&P Global intelligence; Russell, 2000Carlin
Sand PassBronco CreekHistoric, noncompliantKrahulec, 2011Carlin
SandyPilot Gold (USA) Pilot Gold filesCarlin
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
South Eureka (South Adit)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
WindfallTimberline Resources CorporationEsimated historical underground and open pitBerger et al., 2014Carlin
South Railroad (Trout Creek)Gold Standard Ventures Inc.Historical, noncompliant, unclassifiedGold Standard press release, August 2012Carlin
SpruceRenaissance Gold/Sumitomo Renaissance Gold websiteDistal disseminated
Star PointerKGHM U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Data SystemDistal disseminated
TaylorSilver Predator Silver Predator websiteDistal disseminated
TugWest Kirkland43-101 compliant I & I as of April 2014West Kirkland websiteCarlin
Washington Dome?Historic, noncompliantUtah Geological SurveyCarlin
West PeqoupAgnico Eagle-Newmont43-101 compliant I & I as of July 2010Moran and Davies, 2010Carlin
White Pine?Historic, noncompliantMuntean et al., 2012Carlin
Wood Hills SouthRenaissance Gold/NewmontEarly-stage prospectRenaissance Gold websiteCarlin

Bold text indicates a deposit or mine discussed in the text

1

Proven, probable (P & P), and possible; whether historic or current is noted in the comments section

2

Measured (M), indicated, and inferred (I & I); type and whether historic or current is noted in the comments section

3

In cases where resource or reserve classification are stated separately in the reference material, more than one grade or a range is given

This paper summarizes some of the various styles of sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization in the eastern Great Basin, including host rocks, structural settings, and major deposits, to draw attention to this relatively under-explored region.

Location and Exploration History

The subject region extends from the edge of the Late Devonian passive-margin continental slope-break east and north to the edge of the Great Basin (Fig. 1). The southwestern and southern boundaries of this area are not well defined. A number of deposits in the eastern Great Basin were discovered and partially mined in the period from the late 1800s through the first half of the twentieth century, prior to discovery of Carlin-type gold deposits in the Carlin and Cortez trends. Mining camps in the late 1800s and early 1900s typically focused on high-grade gold, silver, and base metal deposits. Mines were often located over and adjacent to what eventually were recognized as large sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits, which were not discovered until decades later. Mining camps included Mercur, the largest sedimentary rock-hosted gold district in Utah, where gold was produced from approximately 1890 to 1913 (Mako, 1999; Krahulec, 2011); the Drum, Utah, mining district, organized in 1872 and mined sporadically until 1934; Goldstrike, Utah, which saw minor gold production from approximately 1895 through 1920 (Willden, 2006); Eureka, Nevada, where silver, lead, and some gold were mined in the 1860s through 1890s (Dilles et al., 1996; Roberts et al., 1967); and Cherry Creek, Nevada, which saw mining activity for gold, silver, copper, and lead from 1863 through 1964 (Brown et al., 2009).

Fig. 1.

Schematic tectonostratigraphic map of Nevada and western Utah. The approximate outline of the Basin and Range Province is shown as a blue dashed line. Tan shaded area denotes the subject area of this paper. After Tosdal et al. (2000) and Smith et al. (2013). See also Cook (2015, fig. 30) for interpreted Late Proterozoic passive margin rifting fault systems and associated transform faults and Cook (2015, “Structural controls on platform margin locations”).

Fig. 1.

Schematic tectonostratigraphic map of Nevada and western Utah. The approximate outline of the Basin and Range Province is shown as a blue dashed line. Tan shaded area denotes the subject area of this paper. After Tosdal et al. (2000) and Smith et al. (2013). See also Cook (2015, fig. 30) for interpreted Late Proterozoic passive margin rifting fault systems and associated transform faults and Cook (2015, “Structural controls on platform margin locations”).

With the development of large-scale heap leach and other technology suitable for exploiting sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in the 1970s and 1980s, a number of companies, including Getty Mining Company, Kennecott Exploration Company, Newmont Mining Company, U.S. Minerals Exploration Company (USMX), Alta Gold Inc., Tenneco Minerals Inc., Permian Exploration Account, Homestake Mining Company, and others, began exploring for and mining gold in the eastern Great Basin. A large number of deposits were mined during the late 1980s and 1990s, including Barney’s Canyon (Kennecott; Presnell and Parry, 1996), Black Pine (Pegasus; Brady, 1984; Shaddrick, 2013), Goldstrike (USMX, Tenneco; Willden, 2006), Drum (Krahulec, 2011), Kinsley (Alta Gold; Hannink et al., 2015), Griffon (Alta Gold), Green Springs (Alta Gold), Rain (Newmont Mining Company; Essman, 2011), Limousine Butte (Alt Bay Venture; Brown et al., 2009), and Bald Mountain/Alligator Ridge (Barrick Gold; Nutt and Hofstra, 2003; Ilchik, 1990). A number of other discoveries were made (but not mined), and still others were the result of new discoveries in old districts, such as Mercur (Getty Mining; Mako, 1999; Krahulec, 2011). With few exceptions, nearly all mining operations focused exclusively on the shallow, oxidized portions of deposits that could be mined at low cost using open-pit mining and heap leach extractive methods. Exploration and mining largely ceased over this large area with the stagnation in gold prices in the mid to late 1990s.

Recognition of the continental slope and base-of-slope facies strata as the preferred hosts for Carlin-type gold mineralization (Cook and Corboy, 2004; Cook, 2005) and linking the trends to deep-seated Neoproterozoic rift structures (Tosdal et al., 2000; Cline et al., 2005; Emsbo et al., 2006; Muntean et al., 2007) focused exploration in the main trends and likely played a role in dissuading exploration in the eastern Great Basin.

The entire eastern Great Basin region saw relatively little exploration activity from the mid 1990s until the late 2000s, when the stagnant gold price began to rise, and the presence of a relatively high-grade oxide deposit at Long Canyon in the northern Pequop Mountains was announced by Fronteer Gold Corporation in 2009 (Gustin and Smith, 2009; Felder et al., 2011; Smith et al., 2013). Fronteer was purchased by Newmont Mining Company for approximately $2.3 billion in 2011, and the mine started production in September 2016 (Newmont Mining Company website, 2016). Today, in addition to continuous mining and discovery over two decades at the long-lived Bald Mountain mine, a number of deposits have been discovered, rediscovered, or enlarged, with several, including Pan, Goldrock, Kinsley, Pinion, and Dark Star, currently in the advanced exploration, permitting, or construction phase.

The eastern Great Basin is vast. The purpose of this paper is to describe the stratigraphic and structural settings for sedimentary rock-hosted deposits in the eastern Great Basin, including specific examples, with an emphasis on using stratigraphic tools in order to narrow down the list of prospective areas.

Principles of Carbonate Sequence Stratigraphy

General perspectives and eustatic sea-level cycles

Carbonate sequence stratigraphy is considered to be a practical tool for analyzing the development and evolution of carbonate platforms as well as an important tool for understanding and predicting the origin, stratigraphic occurrence, and geometry of sediment-hosted gold in the Paleozoic carbonate platform of Nevada (Cook, 2005, 2015; H. Cook, unpub. reports, 2006, 2007). Sequence stratigraphy integrates time and the cycles of relative sea-level changes in order to track the migration of facies through time and space. The strength of sequence stratigraphy lies in its potential to predict facies within a chronostratigraphic framework of unconformity-bound depositional sequences. Depositional sequence models are constructed to show the dynamic evolution through time and space of carbonate platforms.

When properly used, depositional sequence models can assist in developing predictive Carlin-style gold host models. However, these models are not meant to serve as rigid templates. Modification may be needed to accommodate each case as new outcrop and subsurface data are gathered. Sequence models can serve as working hypotheses to help geologists better understand how and why carbonate strata fit together as they do. As a general predictor of facies, carbonate depositional sequence and systems tract models can be used in conjunction with seismic records to identify depositional systems and in turn to locate gold host facies.

In summary, carbonate sequence stratigraphy can (1) serve as a framework or guide for making observations, (2) provide a basis for stratigraphic and facies observations, and (3) serve as a stratigraphic predictor in four dimensions (i.e., space and time). Figure 2 illustrates how carbonate sequence stratigraphy summarizes the basic scientific principles that can be applied to specific locations, such as the Great Basin of the western United States. Cook and Corboy (2004) and Cook (2005, 2015) describe the lower Paleozoic rocks of the central and eastern Great Basin in terms of carbonate depositional environments and carbonate sequence stratigraphy. The reader is referred to these papers for a more in-depth discussion of carbonate sequence stratigraphy, the basic controls on carbonate sedimentation, and structural controls on the location of carbonate platform margins.

Fig. 2.

A) Schematic cross section showing a complete depositional cycle (i.e., depositional sequence) for a carbonate-rimmed shelf, made up of sea-level lowstand, sea-level transgressive, and sea-level highstand sequence tracts. Yellow bars indicate favorable host-rock environments for gold deposits on the shelf and slope (modified after Cook, 2015). A complete depositional cycle (i.e., a depositional sequence) is represented by the interval from a sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-1) through a sea-level highstand (maximum flooding surface MFS-1) to the superjacent sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-2). B) Schematic section through a depositional cycle in the rock record. C) Schematic illustration of sequence tracts relative to sea-level rise and fall.

Fig. 2.

A) Schematic cross section showing a complete depositional cycle (i.e., depositional sequence) for a carbonate-rimmed shelf, made up of sea-level lowstand, sea-level transgressive, and sea-level highstand sequence tracts. Yellow bars indicate favorable host-rock environments for gold deposits on the shelf and slope (modified after Cook, 2015). A complete depositional cycle (i.e., a depositional sequence) is represented by the interval from a sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-1) through a sea-level highstand (maximum flooding surface MFS-1) to the superjacent sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-2). B) Schematic section through a depositional cycle in the rock record. C) Schematic illustration of sequence tracts relative to sea-level rise and fall.

Figure 2 illustrates the principles of carbonate sequence stratigraphy. A lowstand systems tract forms by platform margin collapse and lowstand shedding of shoal water-derived carbonate debris during a relative sea-level lowering. The platform margin may prograde downward to form a lowstand margin. Platform interior karsting can occur during a sea-level lowstand. A transgressive systems tract develops during a rapid sea-level rise. This results in the platform margin back-stepping and/or retrograding. During the initial phase of the sea-level lowering, following the maximum flooding surface, the highstand systems tract forms. This results in a thick aggradational and progradational carbonate platform architecture. Sedimentation rates on the platform are high, resulting in the shedding of abundant carbonate sediments off the platform, forming slope and base-of-slope aprons (Cook, 2015).

Figure 2 illustrates a barcode for understanding the fundamental basics of carbonate sequence stratigraphy. Once this barcode is deciphered it can provide, along with experience in the field and in interpreting cores, an exploration geologist with important tools for making stratigraphic and exploration predictions for the location of potential Carlin-type gold hosts through time and space. As such, Figure 2 demonstrates where the gold may be located and why it is there (e.g., Cook, 2015).

Over the past several decades, carbonate depositional facies models have been routinely used for describing, interpreting, and predicting facies relationships in carbonate platforms and deeper-water basin margins. However, depositional facies models by themselves do not address or rigorously predict how carbonate platforms and their facies belts are affected by relative fluctuations in sea level. An understanding of how the carbonate factory responds to relative sea-level changes is of fundamental importance. These basic subjects form the essence of the value of carbonate sequence stratigraphy across the entire carbonate platform from the basin, slope, margin, and platform interior, which in turn influences where sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits are found.

Kerans and Tinker (1997) and Cook (2015) summarize the terminology of cycle hierarchies and orders of cyclicity (first-order through fifth-order sea-level cycles). Kerans and Tinker (1997) also present useful quantitative data for better understanding tectono-eustatic and eustatic sea-level cycle orders, their duration in millions of years, relative sea-level amplitudes in meters, and relative sea-level rise/fall rates in cm/1,000 years (1 cm/1,000 yr = 10 m/m.y. = 10 Bubnoffs).

Fischer and Bottjer (1991) discuss orbital forcing and sedimentary sequences. They summarize the Milankovitch frequency band (fourth- and fifth-order sea-level cycles) for the earth’s orbital variations (eccentricity, obliquity, and precession) and their effects on cycles of ice growth.

Sequences and systems tracts

Basic carbonate depositional principles and outcrop data were used to construct a depositional sequence and systems tract model for a humid carbonate rimmed platform (Fig. 2). Figure 2 shows how depositional sequences made up of carbonate sediments are produced by depositional systems responding to relative lowstand, transgressive, and highstand sea-level conditions.

A complete depositional sequence (S-1 in Fig. 2) is a relatively conformable succession of genetically related strata bounded by unconformities and their correlative disconformities (SB-1 and SB-2 in Fig. 2). An unconformity is a surface separating older from younger strata where there is evidence of subaerial truncation, karsting, hardgrounds (i.e., on platform margins, shelf lagoons, or supratidal flats), and/or submarine erosion (i.e., on slopes), with some degree of hiatus indicated. Sequences are composed of three parts: lowstand systems tract, transgressive systems tract, and highstand systems tract (Fig. 2). Systems tracts are interpreted to form during specific time intervals of the relative change of the sea-level curve. Thus, on Figure 2 a complete sequence is interpreted to start at a lowstand sequence tract and be deposited during the cycle of eustatic change of sea level, starting and ending in the vicinity of the inflection points on the falling limbs of the sea-level curve (Fig. 2).

The various types of systems tracts are described below. Examples from eastern Nevada platform interior formations and elsewhere are used as examples, illustrated in Figure 3, and described in more detail later in this paper.

Fig. 3.

A) Idealized depositional sequence on the early Paleozoic shelf, with illustration of various facies types from the House Range in western Utah. B) Marjum Formation massive grainstone typical of shallow-water conditions present in a lowstand tract. C) Bighorse limestone algal bioherms developed in intertidal zone at a lowstand cycle top. D) Candland Formation shallow-water lag-packstone immediately overlying the algal bioherm horizon in (B) at the start of a transgressive cycle. E) Weeks Limestone shallow-water interbedded limestone and limy siltstone in a transgressive sequence tract. Relative positions of the formations named above can be seen in the westerly of the two House Range sections in Figure 6. Abbreviations: HST = highstand tract, LST = lowstand tract, TST = transgressive tract.

Fig. 3.

A) Idealized depositional sequence on the early Paleozoic shelf, with illustration of various facies types from the House Range in western Utah. B) Marjum Formation massive grainstone typical of shallow-water conditions present in a lowstand tract. C) Bighorse limestone algal bioherms developed in intertidal zone at a lowstand cycle top. D) Candland Formation shallow-water lag-packstone immediately overlying the algal bioherm horizon in (B) at the start of a transgressive cycle. E) Weeks Limestone shallow-water interbedded limestone and limy siltstone in a transgressive sequence tract. Relative positions of the formations named above can be seen in the westerly of the two House Range sections in Figure 6. Abbreviations: HST = highstand tract, LST = lowstand tract, TST = transgressive tract.

Lowstand: A lowstand systems tract develops during the latter part of a relative sea-level lowering. Carbonate sediment production is reduced or even terminated on platform tops, and sediment production is often limited to only the platform margins and slopes. Large areas of the platform may be karsted, or very shallow water algal bioherms may form (Fig. 3, photo 2). Platform margins can become gravitationally unstable, and massive collapse of the platform margins can occur with the development of large amounts of lowstand debris flow and turbidite deposits forming aprons and fans (Fig. 4A). These lowstand, allochthonous deposits can be composed of meter-size or larger blocks (megabreccias; Cook et al., 1972) when parts of the platform margin collapses. These megabreccia blocks may also show signs of having been karsted prior to their detachment and transportation down slope. Single clasts up to about 65 × 325 ft (20 × 100 m) across have been found in a 325-ft-thick (100 m) debris flow apron in the Eocene Hecho Group, south-central Pyrenees, Spain (Cook and Mullins, 1983). This Eocene carbonate megabreccia debris flow apron can be traced continuously along depositional strike for about 45 mi (70 km) and traveled more than ~30 mi (50 km) down slope into the Hecho basin. It is estimated to have a volume of 60 to 140 km3.

Fig. 4.

Schematic cross sections through the Great Basin showing pre-Antler stratigraphic and tectonic relationships from Late Cambrian through Permian time. A) Late Cambrian through Early Mississippian passive-margin depositional facies profile. This facies profile shows that the Early Cambrian-Late Devonian is comprised of 11 depositional sequences generated by 11 sea-level cycles. The section runs approximately through central Nevada from the Toquima Range through the Carlin, Cortez, Bald Mountain, and Long Canyon-Kinsley area. Not to scale. Total width of the slope-basin portion is approximately 80 km. Total width of the shelf-platform area is approximately 130 km. Total thickness of the Cambrian section is approximately 2,500 m. Total thickness of the Ordovician through Early Mississippian section is 4,500 to 6,000 m. B) Latest Devonian through Permian (post-Antler) foreland basin and shallow marine setting (Cook, 2015). Thickness highly variable, up to several thousand meters.

Fig. 4.

Schematic cross sections through the Great Basin showing pre-Antler stratigraphic and tectonic relationships from Late Cambrian through Permian time. A) Late Cambrian through Early Mississippian passive-margin depositional facies profile. This facies profile shows that the Early Cambrian-Late Devonian is comprised of 11 depositional sequences generated by 11 sea-level cycles. The section runs approximately through central Nevada from the Toquima Range through the Carlin, Cortez, Bald Mountain, and Long Canyon-Kinsley area. Not to scale. Total width of the slope-basin portion is approximately 80 km. Total width of the shelf-platform area is approximately 130 km. Total thickness of the Cambrian section is approximately 2,500 m. Total thickness of the Ordovician through Early Mississippian section is 4,500 to 6,000 m. B) Latest Devonian through Permian (post-Antler) foreland basin and shallow marine setting (Cook, 2015). Thickness highly variable, up to several thousand meters.

Hampton (1972, 1975, 1979) discusses the role of debris flows in generating turbidites, their proficiency for long-distance transport, and their buoyancy. The long-distance transport associated with debris flows has exploration overtones for correlating debris flows over long distances, as between the Carlin and Cortez trends, and for seeking debris-flow gold hosts both laterally and basinward. Cook et al. (1972) discuss the fluid physics of turbidite flow (Newtonian flow) vs. the fluid physics and flow of debris flows (non-Newtonian flow).

Transgression: A transgressive systems tract (Fig. 2) develops during the early and middle stages of a relative sea-level rise. With marine transgression, sedimentation is initiated on the platform and patch reefs may locally develop atop the flooded platforms. Retrogradational sequences can form, and platform margins tend to retreat and/or backstep and even drown if the rate of rise of the relative sea level is high (Fig. 2). Condensed deposits (i.e., deposits formed during very low carbonate sedimentation rates) may occur atop platforms and in the basin during maximum transgression (i.e., at the maximum flooding surface; Fig. 3E). These condensed, finegrained sediments make excellent low-permeability cap rocks and traps for Carlin-type gold deposits. However, in platform interiors, as at Long Canyon and Kinsley Range in eastern Nevada, these condensed sections also are excellent gold hosts where they are fractured and have permeability and porosity.

Highstand: A highstand systems tract develops during the late stages of a relative sea-level rise and during much of the subsequent relative sea-level lowering. Aggradation and seaward progradation of the platform margin takes place as the platform is flooded, and carbonate sedimentation rates are very fast under these conditions. Abundant excess shoal-water sediments can be shed off the platform margins, forming upper slope tidal bars and carbonate turbidite and debris-flow slope and base-of-slope debris aprons.

The Carlin Model and Other Sedimentary Rock-Hosted Deposit Types

Most researchers would agree that the deposits in northeast Nevada have essentially the same attributes as the large clusters of Carlin-type deposits to the west (after Hofstra and Cline, 2000; Cline et al., 2005; Muntean et al., 2011; Cook, 2015; Cline, 2018; Muntean, 2018), including the following:

  1. Eocene (~42–34 Ma) age of mineralization;

  2. host rocks consisting dominantly of Silurian-Devonian slope-facies calcareous turbidites and debris flows or Cambrian and Ordovician carbonate seamount, base-of-slope turbidite, debris flow, and soft-sediment slumps and slides (Fig. 2A; Cook, 2015);

  3. association with long-lived structures that may have originated as Late Proterozoic rift-related normal faults and transform faults;

  4. common spatial and temporal association with Eocene dikes;

  5. a geochemical association of gold with As, Sb, Tl, and Hg, with little or no Fe introduced by the ore fluids;

  6. Au/Ag ratios commonly less than 1:1;

  7. mineralization is of replacement origin, with little or no vein mineralization;

  8. local association with hydrothermal collapse breccias and eustatic sea-level-lowering karst conglomerates and breccias in platform interior, shallow-water lagoon settings;

  9. gold hosted in the crystal structure of arsenian, trace element-rich pyrite, either in typically micron-sized grains or as micron-sized rims on preore pyrite;

  10. gold transported as bisulfide complexes in moderately acidic, low-salinity fluids, at temperatures ranging from ~150° to 250°C;

  11. association with decarbonatization, argillization of silicates (illite and/or kaolinite/dickite), and stratiform and/or structurally controlled jasperoid bodies;

  12. common spatial and temporal link to felsic to intermediate intrusive rocks.

Carlin-type deposits are overwhelmingly located in north-central Nevada along one of the four major trends (Carlin, Cortez, Getchell, and Independence). Of these, the Carlin and Cortez trends contain a large percentage of the gold discovered to date, and most of this is hosted in Devonian strata lying immediately seaward of the platform margin edge on the continental slope and base of slope. Host strata consist of carbonate submarine fan and apron deposits composed of thin-bedded turbidite grainstones, packstones, wackestones, and debris flows as well as soft-sediment slumps and slides in middle slope locations. Of significance is the fact that softsediment slumps have often been misidentified as tectonic folds. Given the strong association of gold mineralization with the main trends and with sedimentary facies of limited age and spatial distribution, exploration activities have been focused on relatively small areas constituting the intersections of the major controlling features.

Carlin-type gold systems in the main trends are progressively younger from north to south, following the southward migration of the 40 to 25 Ma Tertiary ignimbrite flare-up in Nevada, with magmatism related to slab rollback (e.g., Cook, 1968; Henry and John, 2013). Most deposits with Carlin-style affinities in the eastern Great Basin generally follow this trend.

A number of sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in the Great Basin are classified as distal disseminated deposits based on a spatial association with either Eocene, Cretaceous, or Jurassic intermediate to felsic intrusions. Distal disseminated deposits are similar to Carlin-type deposits in a number of ways, including the following (Hofstra and Cline, 2000; Muntean, 2018):

  1. presence of micron-sized gold hosted in the lattice of arsenian pyrite;

  2. geochemical association of gold with As, Hg and Sb ± Tl;

  3. alteration including decarbonatization, silica replacement (jasperoid) bodies, and illite;

  4. carbonate host rocks;

  5. gold transported as bisulfide complexes in acidic to neutral fluids.

However, distal disseminated deposits differ from Carlin-type deposits in a number of ways (Hofstra and Cline, 2000):

  1. proximity to intrusive causative intrusive rocks;

  2. variable Mesozoic or Cenozoic age of mineralization (related to age of causative intrusive rocks;

  3. host-rock ages more variable (Cambrian to Triassic);

  4. spatial distribution of deposits more variable (not necessarily on trends);

  5. base metal zoning usually present;

  6. may contain areas of skarn alteration and polymetallic veins;

  7. ore minerals more diverse, including chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite, galena, sphalerite, free gold;

  8. generally higher temperature (200°–400°C);

  9. some Fe introduced.

Examples include Barneys Canyon (distal to the Eocene Bingham stock; Cunningham et al., 2004); Phoenix (distal to the Eocene Copper Canyon stock; Breit et al., 2011), and portions of Bald Mountain (Jurassic Bald Mountain stock; Nutt and Hofstra, 2007).

Eastern Great Basin Stratigraphic Setting

Most of the eastern Great Basin is underlain by carbonate strata ranging in age from Late Proterozoic though Permian. Uppermost Proterozoic and lower Paleozoic strata record a passive-margin setting from rifting in the Late Proterozoic through onset of the Antler orogeny in Late Devonian-Early Mississippian time (Fig. 4A, B). These strata record a transition from relatively deep water basin through slope and platform facies from west to east. As well, this same transition is time transgressive, with deeper-water conditions prevailing in the Late Proterozoic and the migration of the platform edge westward prevailing through the Late Devonian (Fig. 4A). This transition and migration was not gradual but episodic, a result of 11 global sea-level rise transgressions and sea-levellowering regressions (Cook, 2015; Cook and Corboy, 2004). The platform margin migrated continentward during initial transgressions (i.e., initial sea-level rise) and basinward during regressions (i.e., during progressing sea-level rise and beginning stages of sea-level lowering; Fig. 2).

Passive-margin sedimentation came to an end during the Antler orogeny in the Late Devonian and Early Mississippian, when E-directed emplacement of the Antler allochthon over slope and outer shelf rocks resulted in formation of a foreland basin continentward of it, into which W-derived siliciclastic strata were shed from the Antler highland (e.g., Poole, 1974; Cook and Corboy, 2004). These strata extend from the Cortez trend to western Utah and range from relatively thick successions of coarse siliciclastic strata on the west to thinner horizons consisting of starved basin strata to the east.

Where preserved, Late Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, and Permian strata record shallow marine conditions, with local development of geographically and temporally restricted shale basins (e.g., Rich, 1971). Marine sedimentation largely came to a close at the end of the Permian with the Sonoma orogeny.

Significant Paleogene exhumation and erosion took place over much of eastern Nevada and western Utah in the hinterland of the Late Cretaceous Sevier orogenic belt (Long, 2012). As a result, Mesozoic strata are not well represented in the eastern Great Basin and are not discussed further here. In many locations throughout the eastern Great Basin, Paleozoic rocks are unconformably overlain by Eocene conglomerate and sandstone.

Cenozoic strata, ranging from Eocene to Holocene in age and associated with extensional activity beginning in the Eocene, record the formation and filling of basins and include alluvial, fluvial, and lacustrine deposits. Sedimentation is punctuated by a number of episodes of intermediate to felsic volcanism, commonly Eocene, Oligocene, or Miocene in age.

Eastern Great Basin Structural Setting

Postrifting and throughout the Paleozoic, the eastern Great Basin was generally not directly affected by tectonic events happening farther to the west, other than changes to sedimentation patterns reflecting emplacement of the Antler and Golconda allochthons during Devonian-Mississippian Antler and Permian-Triassic Sonoma orogenies.

The eastern Great Basin was directly affected by at least two Mesozoic contractional events: the Middle Jurassic Elko and Late Cretaceous Sevier orogenies (Fig. 5). Both involved top-to-the-east or -southeast thrust faulting and east-west to northwest-southeast shortening, making differentiation of these events in the field difficult unless structures can be observed to deform or cut by dated intrusive rocks or each other. There is some evidence that the Paleocene Laramide orogeny may also have affected portions of the Great Basin, although it is not well documented (e.g., Rhys et al., 2015).

Fig. 5.

A) Major Mesozoic tectonic events in the Great Basin over space and time (Thorman and Peterson, 2004). B) Approximate map distribution of Elko and Sevier deformation, after Nutt et al. (1996) and Greene (2014). While the effects of the Elko Orogeny were likely more wide ranging (Thorman and Peterson, 2004), only those areas with documented metamorphism, attenuation faulting, or clear-cut evidence for mid-Jurassic age of deformation are shown.

Fig. 5.

A) Major Mesozoic tectonic events in the Great Basin over space and time (Thorman and Peterson, 2004). B) Approximate map distribution of Elko and Sevier deformation, after Nutt et al. (1996) and Greene (2014). While the effects of the Elko Orogeny were likely more wide ranging (Thorman and Peterson, 2004), only those areas with documented metamorphism, attenuation faulting, or clear-cut evidence for mid-Jurassic age of deformation are shown.

Manifestations of the Elko orogeny can be observed from Wells, Nevada, in the northwest to the House Range in western Utah on the southeast (Thorman, 1970; Thorman et al., 1991; Nutt et al., 1996; Silberling and Nichols, 2002). The Elko orogeny is manifested by attenuation faulting and moderate to very low grade regional metamorphism, accompanied by SE- to NE-vergent folding. Attenuation faults tend to be localized within shale horizons and attenuate, or thin, the section, although rarely they cut out significant portions of the section. They may be imbricated with older-over-younger faults and share a spatial relationship with E-vergent folds and other features consistent with formation in an overall contractional environment (Nutt et al., 1996). A likely location for attenuation faulting would be in the upper limb of a recumbent fold. At Long Canyon, a spectacular example of boudinage on a regional (hundreds of meters) scale is in evidence where a brittle dolomite horizon has been pulled apart within enclosing, ductile-deformed limestone beds (Smith et al., 2013). The ductile nature of deformation and superimposed ductile folds strongly argue for local zones of extension within a Mesozoic contractional orogeny in this area. Further evidence for the timing of the Elko orogeny is provided by folded strata that are cut and metamorphosed by ca. 157 to 162 and 172 Ma intrusive rocks in Silver Zone Pass (Thorman et al., 1991) and by two Late Middle Jurassic plutons—the White Horse pluton (ca. 160 Ma; Silberling and Nichols, 2002; no information about dating methods) and the Melrose pluton (ca. 165 Ma, discordant U-Pb age; Zamudio and Atkinson, 1992)—in the White Horse Pass area south of Wendover, Nevada. This event is roughly coeval with the development of the Luning-Fencemaker fold-and-thrust belt in central and western Nevada (e.g., Wyld et al., 2001; Thorman and Peterson, 2004).

The Sevier orogeny impacted a large portion of the continental margin, from eastern Nevada north of Las Vegas to the Idaho border and much of western Utah into Wyoming. Deformation attributed to the Sevier orogeny ranges from mid-Cretaceous to early Cenozoic (Paleocene). The Sevier orogeny is characterized by thin-skinned, mainly E-vergent, brittle to semiductile thrust faults, some with up to tens of kilometers of top-to-the east or southeast offset and related E-vergent folds. The leading edge, or frontal thrust belt, is located primarily along the Wasatch front in Utah, near the eastern edge of the Great Basin. A second fold-and-thrust belt is located in western Utah near the Nevada border and has been referred to as the Sevier hinterland or western Utah thrust belt (e.g., Greene, 2014). Some research suggests that at least some of the metamorphism and tectonism in ranges farther to the west (in the Pequop Range and central Nevada thrust belt) may be Sevier age (Camillari and Chamberlain, 1997; Moran and Davies, 2010; Greene, 2014; Long and Soignard, 2016).

The Paleocene Laramide orogeny primarily affected rocks farther to the east in eastern Utah and Colorado. The Laramide and Sevier orogenies partly overlap in time, and the effects of the former on supracrustal rocks in the eastern Great Basin are not certain.

Regionally, the tectonic setting changed sharply in Eocene time with the onset of extension and reinitiation of magmatism in the Great Basin. Manifested by low-and moderateangle normal and oblique strike-slip faults and episodic volcanism, this deformation persisted though Miocene time (e.g., Colgan et al., 2006). Basinal strata as young as 7 Ma record eastward tilting (Mueller et al., 1999), suggesting that even moderate to steep faults were listric in nature and rooted in low-angle detachment faults. High-angle basin-and-range faulting commenced soon after and continues to the present day.

Eastern Great Basin Platform Carbonate Stratigraphy

Cook and Corboy (2004) extensively compiled the Ordovician through Mississippian stratigraphy of the north-central Great Basin, using concepts of sequence stratigraphy to illustrate how, where, and when prospective slope and basin facies host rocks formed in the central and northern Carlin, Cortez, Getchell, and Independence trends. However, until recently, relatively little had been compiled and published with respect to the depositional setting and sequence stratigraphy of Cambrian and Ordovician strata on the shelf, perhaps due to limited exposure and lack of recognition of these rocks as suitable hosts for gold. Cook (2015) described Cambrian-Ordovician strata in more detail, as summarized below and in Figure 6.

Fig. 6.

Cambrian-Ordovician stratigraphic columns for portions of eight mountain ranges in eastern Nevada and western Utah, after Cook (2015). Red boxes and text show the stratigraphic host rocks for significant sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in these ranges. Inset map shows geographic locations of stratigraphic columns. See Figure 8 for a map of the Great Basin with coordinate ticks.

Fig. 6.

Cambrian-Ordovician stratigraphic columns for portions of eight mountain ranges in eastern Nevada and western Utah, after Cook (2015). Red boxes and text show the stratigraphic host rocks for significant sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in these ranges. Inset map shows geographic locations of stratigraphic columns. See Figure 8 for a map of the Great Basin with coordinate ticks.

When studying Figure 6 it is helpful to look at Figure 2 simultaneously. For the purposes of understanding sequence stratigraphy it is important to note that a sea-level lowstand is not an instantaneous event. A sea-level lowstand evolves through a gradual lowering of the sea level until it reaches a maximum lowering position at the sea-level curve inflection point (represented by the blue sea-level curve on the left side of Fig. 2). Accordingly, the upper points of the black sea-level arrows in Figure 6 are pointing to these maximum sea-level lowstand positions, and the end of each sea-level cycle (i.e., one complete depositional cycle.). For comparison, one complete depositional cycle on Figure 2 is bracketed by S-1. Because these are often manifested by erosional unconformity surfaces, they may appear instantaneous.

Early Cambrian

Immediately postrift, subsidence was relatively rapid and sedimentation rates were high, with the Prospect Mountain Quartzite and overlying Pioche and Killian Springs shales present over much of the eastern Great Basin. No significant examples of sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization are present in this sequence, likely due to a lack of suitable carbonate content in potential host rocks.

Middle Cambrian

Carbonate sedimentation commenced in the Middle Cambrian throughout the Great Basin. In general, on the shelf, the section is shaley in the east, with cleaner limestone prevailing in the central portion of the eastern Great Basin, giving way to dolostone to the west. Shallower water conditions prevail higher in the Middle Cambrian section, culminating in a lowstand and emergence, karsting, and formation of an unconformity at the top of the Eldorado dolomite and Pole Canyon, Cliffside, and Marjum Limestones and Lamb Dolomite. Where present, the Geddes Limestone forms an unconformity-bounded limestone unit above the Eldorado and related formations. Transition then occurs upward through a transgressive facies tract (e.g., Secret Canyon Shale and Patterson Pass Shale), to a sea-level highstand (e.g., Weeks limestone and related strata).

Late Cambrian

In the Late Cambrian, strata transition into shallow-water limestone of the Bighorse Formation and temporally equivalent Hamburg limestone/dolomite and Emigrant Spring, Oasis, Shafter, and Decoy Formations farther to the west. The tops of these formations are marked by supratidal facies limestones, including algal bioherms, local karsting, and an extensive unconformity representing a sea-level lowstand. This is followed by a relative rise in sea level and transgressive tracts represented by the Dunderberg Shale, Corset Spring Shale and Candland Shale. These, in turn, shallow upward into limestone and dolostone of the Hellenmaria, Notch Peak, Whipple Cave, and Bullwhacker Members of the Windfall Formation. As with the prior two cycles described above, this cycle culminates with facies representing supratidal conditions including widespread development of algal bioherms and widespread areas of emergence and karsting, resulting in unconformities.

Ordovician

The Cambrian-Ordovician boundary is marked by a rise in sea level and deposition of the Pogonip Group and equivalent strata. Unlike many of the prior inundations, the basal Pogonip Group locally contains flat-pebble conglomerate and chert (often pinkish or bluish) after gypsum, indicating deposition under supratidal conditions. The Pogonip Group and related strata record a complex pattern of sedimentation marked by a widespread quartzite horizon (Kanosh quartzite) as well as a widespread shale marker horizon (Kanosh shale or Ninemile Formation).

Throughout the Great Basin, the Late Ordovician is marked by deposition of the Eureka quartzite and its slightly older eastern equivalent, the Swan Peak Quartzite. The Eureka Quartzite is well sorted and cross bedded and in many localities contains fragments of crinoid ossicles (Cook, 1966). The Eureka Quartzite is interpreted as representing an intertidal to shallow subtidal marine environment of deposition (McBride, 2012).

Upper Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian

Uppermost Ordovician and Silurian rocks in the eastern Great Basin consist largely of massive dolomites (e.g., Fish Haven Dolomite and Laketown Dolomite) deposited in supratidal basins. They are relatively poor host rocks for gold mineralization, due to their massive nature, relative lack of porosity, and less reactive geochemical constituents. Devonian rocks consist largely of massive dolostone (Sevy, Simonson, and Water Canyon Formations) overlain by limestones, including the widely distributed, shallow-water, shelf lagoon Guilmette limestone. The Simonson-Guilmette contact as well as the top of the Guilmette limestone are widely karsted and marked by unconformities at the bases of sea-level lowstand depositional sequences 9 and 11 (Fig. 4A). Where these conditions are present, both unconformities are significant hosts for gold mineralization (Cook, 2015).

Mississippian

Mississippian strata differ markedly from Devonian strata in the eastern Great Basin, reflecting a change from a passive-margin carbonate platform to a foreland basin setting. This change is characterized by the presence of an eastward thinning and fining wedge of siliciclastic rocks, with siliciclastic material derived primarily from the Antler allochthon or highland emplaced to the west (Poole, 1974; Poole and Sandberg, 1977; Cook, 2015; Fig. 4B). A variety of names are used to describe the Mississippian foreland basin strata, although in general the basal unit is referred to as the Pilot Shale or Webb Formation, which is separated from the upper Chainman Shale by a limestone unit generally referred to as the Joana limestone (Cook, 2015). The Joana limestone is a crinoidcoral-oolite shallow-water carbonate platform that prograded seaward (west) over the Pilot Shale (Cook, 2015). As such the Joana limestone has been interpreted to represent a time of relative tectonic quiescence between the initial pulse of sedimentation and the one above it and as a barrier separating fly-schoid rocks to the west from starved basin sedimentary rocks to the east (Poole and Sandberg, 1977).

Sedimentary rocks of the Antler foreland basin are thought to be time transgressive, becoming thinner, finer grained, and younger eastward. In the extreme southeastern part of the Great Basin in southwestern Utah, manifestations of the Antler foreland consist entirely of a Late Mississippian, 5- to 10-m-thick carbonaceous shale named (and presumably correlated with) the Chainman Shale and the overlying Scotty Wash Quartzite, while most of the Lower and Middle Mississippian part of the section consists of massive, fossiliferous, shallow-water limestones of the Redwall Limestone Formation.

Pennsylvanian

Throughout most of the Great Basin, Pennsylvanian and Permian strata are variably preserved, due to lack of deposition during some time periods and subsequent erosion (e.g., Coogan, 1964). Pennsylvanian strata in the Great Basin generally lie within the Ely, Oquirrh, and Bird Springs basins, which extend from southern and eastern Nevada through western Utah, northwestern Utah and southern Idaho, and southern Nevada, respectively (Bissell, 1964; Hintze and Kowallis, 2009; Fig. 7A). The greater Pennsylvanian basin is bounded on the west by the Antler highland and to the east by the continental margin and a series of persistent basement highs. Sediments were periodically shed off these basement highs, which may represent warping related to orogenic activity in the Antler-Sonoma belt to the west (Bissell, 1964).

Fig. 7.

Extent of autochthonous Pennsylvanian (A) and Permian (B) strata in the eastern Great Basin, after Bissel (1964) and Hintze and Kowallis (2009). Highlands were periodic sources of sediment and may be warps related to periodic tectonic activity in the Antler-Sonoma highlands to the west (Bissel, 1964; Hintze and Kowallis, 2009).

Fig. 7.

Extent of autochthonous Pennsylvanian (A) and Permian (B) strata in the eastern Great Basin, after Bissel (1964) and Hintze and Kowallis (2009). Highlands were periodic sources of sediment and may be warps related to periodic tectonic activity in the Antler-Sonoma highlands to the west (Bissel, 1964; Hintze and Kowallis, 2009).

Formational nomenclature is complex. Pennsylvanian strata are generally recognized as the Ely limestone in eastern Nevada and the Callville limestone in southwestern Utah, both consisting broadly of thin- to thick-bedded, variably silty, fossiliferous limestones with some interbedded quartzite (Fig. 7B). In southern Nevada, Pennsylvanian through Permian rocks are generally referred to as the Bird Spring Group (e.g., Rich, 1971), consisting largely of carbonate mudstone and shale. The Oquirrh Formation of northern Utah and southern Idaho consists of a thick, repetitive sequence of interbedded limestone, calcareous shale and siltstone, dolomite and quartzite deposited in the Oquirrh basin. The three broadly defined units are thought to represent shelf, slope, and basinal facies, respectively. Pennsylvanian strata are separated from Permian strata by an extensive disconformity over much of the eastern Great Basin (Bissell, 1964).

Permian

Permian nomenclature is also highly diverse, reflecting cyclic deposition of siliciclastic strata, limestone and evaporate rocks in a number of basins, including the Arcturus basin, Butte-Deep Creek trough, Park City basin, and Oquirrh basin. The Arcturus basin is Lower Permian in age and includes the Pequop and Loray Formations in the Pequop and other ranges in northeast through east-central Nevada. The Park City basin is Upper Permian in age and constitutes the Park City Group in northern Utah (e.g., Bissell, 1964). In southwestern Utah, Permian rocks are assigned to the Pakoon Dolomite, Queantoweap Sandstone, and Kaibab Formations. In general, Permian strata are cyclically bedded and fossiliferous, with variable amounts of dolomite, siliciclastic strata, and evaporites, suggesting shallow-water to supratidal depositional environments and periodic input of siliciclastic strata from surrounding highlands.

Compilation of Eastern Great Basin Deposits

Table 1 is a compilation of 43 Carlin-type and Carlin-style gold deposits in the eastern Great Basin, including producing mines, past producing mines, deposits with 43-101 compliant or noncompliant (historical) resources or reserves, along with a small number of significant showings. A number of sources were used, including a large number of Canadian National Instrument 43-101 technical reports, company websites, a compilation of sedimentary rock-hosted deposits in Utah by Krahulec (2011), and the SNL Financial LLC (formerly MEG and Intierra) website and mining database, and sources referenced therein. The list also summarizes the gold endowment, status, location, age, and affinity of the main host formations. Locations are plotted in Figure 8, referenced to the Early Devonian shelf edge (Cook, 2015).

Fig. 8.

Locations of deposits, mines, and significant showings representing either Carlin-style or distal disseminated gold deposits in Paleozoic shelf strata in the eastern Great Basin. Large dots with black centers and labels are compiled in Table 1, with references therein; all others are from Laravie (2012) and encompass both on-shelf and off-shelf deposits. Early Devonian platform margin after Cook (2015).

Fig. 8.

Locations of deposits, mines, and significant showings representing either Carlin-style or distal disseminated gold deposits in Paleozoic shelf strata in the eastern Great Basin. Large dots with black centers and labels are compiled in Table 1, with references therein; all others are from Laravie (2012) and encompass both on-shelf and off-shelf deposits. Early Devonian platform margin after Cook (2015).

Deposits Hosted in Cambrian and Ordovician Strata in the Eastern Great Basin

There are a large number of deposits hosted in Cambrian and Ordovician strata on the shelf. Most of them are focused on karsted horizons or unconformities representing the tops of third-order or 4- and fifth-order sea-level lowstands and the immediately overlying sea-level highstand transgressive sequence tracts, as illustrated in Figures 6, 8, and 9.

Fig. 9.

Summary of Early Cambrian through early Late Ordovician stratigraphy on the western North American platform. Vertical scale highly variable by location but is on the order of 2,000 to 4,000 m.

Fig. 9.

Summary of Early Cambrian through early Late Ordovician stratigraphy on the western North American platform. Vertical scale highly variable by location but is on the order of 2,000 to 4,000 m.

Early to Lower Middle Cambrian host rocks

There are virtually no examples of sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization in the Early Cambrian section (Prospect Mountain Quartzite and Pioche Shale), probably due to deeper water conditions, high siliciclastic sediment input, and (as a result) lack of suitable calcareous host rocks.

The Drum mine in eastern Utah is one of the few examples of mineralization hosted in Lower Middle Cambrian strata, including the calcareous Tatlow Member of the Pioche Formation, Howell limestone, and Dome limestone (Nutt et al., 1996). The strata are affected by low-angle attenuation faulting associated with the Elko orogeny (Nutt et al., 1996). Clay-pyrite–altered igneous rocks in and around the mine include rhyodacite, tuff, diorite, igneous matrix breccias, and pebble dikes, most believed to be approximately 39 to 37 Ma (Nutt et al., 1991). Alteration includes auriferous jasperoid lenses, decarbonatization, and clay alteration. The Drum mine produced approximately 124,000 oz (3.86 t) of gold from two pits at an average grade of 1.2 g/t Au (Krahulec, 2011). A number of satellite jasperoid targets have not been drill tested.

Upper Middle Cambrian host rocks

Deposits in Upper Middle Cambrian strata include the Western Flank deposit in the Kinsley Mountains (Hannink et al., 2015; Fig. 10). Western Flank gold mineralization is hosted primarily within strata correlated with thinly interbedded shale and limestone and massive calcareous shale of the Clarks Spring limestone and Secret Canyon Shale Members of the Secret Canyon Shale Formation, immediately overlying massive limestone of the Geddes limestone. The top of the Geddes limestone and the Secret Canyon Shale represent a sea-level lowstand transitioning into a transgressive sequence tract.

Fig. 10.

A) Location map for the Kinsley mine, as well as other deposits hosted in Cambrian strata in the eastern Great Basin (Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook, 2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column for Kinsley (after Hannink et al., 2015). Orange shaded zones represent major lowstand and overlying transgressive sequence tracts, which also correspond to gold-bearing host strata. C) Geologic map of the Kinsley Range (after Hannink et al., 2015). Sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization at the historic Kinsley mine is located approximately 3 km north of a 38 Ma stock. Vertical scale on stratigraphic section approximately 2,000 m.

Fig. 10.

A) Location map for the Kinsley mine, as well as other deposits hosted in Cambrian strata in the eastern Great Basin (Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook, 2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column for Kinsley (after Hannink et al., 2015). Orange shaded zones represent major lowstand and overlying transgressive sequence tracts, which also correspond to gold-bearing host strata. C) Geologic map of the Kinsley Range (after Hannink et al., 2015). Sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization at the historic Kinsley mine is located approximately 3 km north of a 38 Ma stock. Vertical scale on stratigraphic section approximately 2,000 m.

The Kinsley Mountains are underlain by strata ranging from early Middle Cambrian to Silurian in age, imbricated along low-angle attenuation and normal faults. On a regional scale, the strata are present in an open anticline that plunges gently to the north, with the oldest strata exposed on the south end of the range, younging to the north. The sequence is cut by NW-striking strike-slip faults and NNE-striking, down-to-the-east normal faults (Fig. 10C; Hannink et al., 2015). The historic Kinsley mine consists of several small pits aligned along a NW-striking wrench fault system (Robinson, 2005). Approximately 138,000 oz (4.29 t) were recovered in a heap leach operation in the early 1990s by Alta Gold. Mineralized material was mined primarily from the Middle Upper Cambrian Dunderberg Shale and immediately underlying Hamburg limestone and overlying Notch Peak Formation (see below).

The discovery drill hole in the Western Flank zone, located immediately northwest of the historic mine, returned 36.6 m grading 8.53 g/t gold in pyritized and variably silicified shale and limestone (Hannink et al., 2015). A total of 284,000 indicated ounces (8.83 t) of gold averaging 6 g/t has been identified to date in this zone (Gustin et al., 2015). Mineralization differs somewhat from most deposits in the Carlin trend in that the Au (ppm)/S (%) ratio is higher, averaging approximately 10 (Gustin et al., 2015; G. Simmons, verbal commun., 2015). Gold-bearing arsenian pyrite grains are relatively coarse and euhedral compared to Carlin-type deposits on the main trends and may include internal rims of stibnite, tetrahedrite-tennantite, and sericite (Hill et al., 2015). Gold-bearing pyrite is concentrated in thin to laminated calcareous shale beds in the Clarks Spring Member and calcareous shale of the Secret Canyon Shale Member of the Secret Canyon Shale Formation (Figs. 10B, 11A). Kinsley sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization is located approximately 3 km north of an Eocene granodiorite stock that gave rise to copper skarn alteration dated by Re-Os at 37.88 ± 0.2 Ma (Hill et al., 2015). However, there is no conclusive evidence linking the gold mineralization directly to the stock.

Fig. 11.

Host-rock types and styles of mineralization in shelf deposits. A) Auriferous pyrite replacing thin shale beds in the Middle Cambrian Clarks Spring Member of the Secret Canyon Shale, Western Flank deposit, Kinsley. B) Mineralized, oxidized, and sheared Dunderberg Shale within an attenuation fault, Kinsley. C) Silicified karst fill in the upper portion of the Upper Cambrian Notch Peak Formation, Kinsley. D) Mineralized and oxidized silty laminations near the base of the Ordovician Pogonip Group, Long Canyon. E) Mineralized and oxidized karst fill, Long Canyon. F) Mineralized and oxidized calcareous siltstone beds interlayered with massive limestone beds in the Pennsylvanian Calville Limestone, Goldstrike property.

Fig. 11.

Host-rock types and styles of mineralization in shelf deposits. A) Auriferous pyrite replacing thin shale beds in the Middle Cambrian Clarks Spring Member of the Secret Canyon Shale, Western Flank deposit, Kinsley. B) Mineralized, oxidized, and sheared Dunderberg Shale within an attenuation fault, Kinsley. C) Silicified karst fill in the upper portion of the Upper Cambrian Notch Peak Formation, Kinsley. D) Mineralized and oxidized silty laminations near the base of the Ordovician Pogonip Group, Long Canyon. E) Mineralized and oxidized karst fill, Long Canyon. F) Mineralized and oxidized calcareous siltstone beds interlayered with massive limestone beds in the Pennsylvanian Calville Limestone, Goldstrike property.

On the West Pequop property (Hellbusch et al., 2011), mineralization at the Acrobat, Juggler, and Section 34 deposits is hosted in the Morgan Pass and Shafter Formations, age equivalent to the Secret Canyon Shale.

North of Bald Mountain, mineralization at the Bellview property consists of jasperoid and silicified and quartz veined, auriferous dolostone along the upper contact of either the Geddes Formation or Eldorado dolomite and portions of the immediately overlying Secret Canyon Shale (Gray, 2010).

Upper Cambrian host rocks

Upper Cambrian strata, including the Dunderberg Shale and age-equivalent Candland Shale, as well as limestones immediately above and below the shale horizon, host a number of deposits throughout the eastern Great Basin.

As described above, the historic mine at Kinsley Mountain primarily exploited strata-bound mineralization in the Dunderberg Shale, consisting of calcareous shale, siltstone and interbedded limestone, and a thin limestone horizon at the top of the Hamburg Formation, with an estimated 138,000 oz (4.29 t) mined by Alta Gold in a heap leach operation in the late 1990s (Hannink et al., 2015; Fig. 11B). As with the Geddes-Secret Canyon Shale transition, the Hamburg-Dunderberg Shale transition also represents a sea-level lowstand transitioning into a transgressive sequence tract. Gold is associated with jasperoid, illite, decarbonatization, and iron oxides and is correlated with As, Sb, Hg, Tl, and Ag. The Dunderberg Shale contains evidence of early ductile deformation, possibly associated with the Elko orogeny, extensively overprinted by a low-angle normal fault system (Fig. 11B), then subsequently cut by steep NW-striking and NNE-striking faults. In the northwestern portion of the mine, the Dunderberg Shale is faulted out, and mineralization is instead hosted in silicified solution/collapse breccias hosted in massive limestones of the overlying Notch Peak Formation (Fig. 11C). The breccias are localized along faults, possibly a result of hydrothermal karsting along major, NW-striking fluid pathways.

The Mountain Top deposit on the west side of the Pequop Mountains is hosted in the Candland Shale, which is age equivalent to the Dunderberg Shale (Bedell et al., 2010; Hellbusch et al., 2011).

Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician host strata

Upper Cambrian and lowermost Ordovician strata also host mineralization in a number of localities. At Long Canyon (Smith et al., 2013; Fig. 12A), strata range in age from Middle Cambrian to Late Ordovician and are imbricated along a number of low-angle attenuation faults of Middle Jurassic age and thrust faults of Late Cretaceous age. The former was accompanied by low greenschist-facies metamorphism. Three phases of folding have been documented, including early, SE-vergent recumbent folds believed to be related to the Elko orogeny; inclined, tight to isoclinal, SE-vergent folds related to the Sevier orogeny; and late, upright kink folds. The section is cut by a number of SW-striking, steeply to moderately NW-dipping normal faults. The gold system at Long Canyon was discovered in 1992 by Pittston (Felder et al., 2011), with subsequent drilling by AuEx, NewWest Gold, and Fronteer Gold.

Fig. 12.

Long Canyon deposit stratigraphy and structural setting. A) Location map, with other deposits in Ordovician rocks highlighted. Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook (2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column of the gold host rocks at Long Canyon. Abbreviations in insets B1 and B2 are informal units within the Ordovician Pogonip Group and Cambrian Notch Peak Formation; rock types are indicated to the left of the unit abbreviations. C) Deposit footprint on geology, showing NNE-elongate trend of the deposit, following boudin/crack margins. D) Schematic cross section showing gold mineralization focused along NNE-trending boudin necks and cracks in the Notch Peak dolomite (Cnpd). These structures formed during Jurassic and/or Cretaceous deformation and were subsequently exploited by early Cenozoic normal faults. Figs. 12B, C, and D after Smith et al. (2013). Abbreviation: mC = Middle Cambrian.

Fig. 12.

Long Canyon deposit stratigraphy and structural setting. A) Location map, with other deposits in Ordovician rocks highlighted. Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook (2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column of the gold host rocks at Long Canyon. Abbreviations in insets B1 and B2 are informal units within the Ordovician Pogonip Group and Cambrian Notch Peak Formation; rock types are indicated to the left of the unit abbreviations. C) Deposit footprint on geology, showing NNE-elongate trend of the deposit, following boudin/crack margins. D) Schematic cross section showing gold mineralization focused along NNE-trending boudin necks and cracks in the Notch Peak dolomite (Cnpd). These structures formed during Jurassic and/or Cretaceous deformation and were subsequently exploited by early Cenozoic normal faults. Figs. 12B, C, and D after Smith et al. (2013). Abbreviation: mC = Middle Cambrian.

Oxidized gold mineralization, consisting primarily of silicification/quartz, hematite, goethite, scorodite, and illite, is focused in a laminated, calcareous siltstone horizon near the contact of the Upper Cambrian Notch Peak limestone with the overlying, Upper Cambrian Notch Peak dolomite and within limestone and silty limestone at the base of the Lower Ordovician Pogonip Group overlying the Notch Peak dolomite (Fig. 12). Limestone at the base of the Pogonip consists of relatively massively bedded limestone with silt wisps, overlain by a unit consisting of laminated to thin-bedded calcareous siltstone and limestone alternating with massive limestone beds, some with lag-packstone horizons and chert after gypsum (Figs. 11D, 12B). This unit is overlain by laminated to thin-bedded calcareous shale and limestone. The sequence described above represents a major third-order sea-level low-stand transitioning into a transgressive sequence tract (Fig. 6).

Gold mineralization is also focused in variably silicified solution/collapse breccia zones developed along normal faults focused on NE-trending boudin necks within the Notch Peak dolomite (Fig. 12D; Smith et al., 2013). Boudins are thought to have formed during the Jurassic Elko orogeny, when limestone deformed ductily and dolomite was subject to brittle deformation, perhaps in an extended, overturned fold limb (Smith et al., 2013). Some evidence of mineralization associated with the karsted top of the Notch Peak dolomite has also been noted (J. Thorson, writ. commun., 2009).

Long Canyon currently hosts a reserve of over 1.17 Moz and a resource of 2.02 Moz (62.8 t; Newmont 2016 Reserve Statement) and entered commercial production in November 2016 (Newmont website).

In the South Eureka area, gold mineralization is hosted in a breccia in the upper portion of the Hamburg dolomite, the overlying Dunderberg Shale, and the Windfall Formation, which is age equivalent to the Notch Peak Formation (Gustin, 2013; Cook, 2015).

At Bald Mountain, mineralization hosted in Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician rocks is hosted in the lower portion of the Bullwhacker Member of the Windfall Formation, correlative with the Notch Peak Formation, in the basal portion of the Pogonip Group, and at the contact between the Antelope Valley and the Eureka Formation (Cook, 2015). Each of these mineralized zones is related to a sequence top or exposure surface, and most have at least locally developed karst breccia (Nutt et al., 2000; Cook, 2015; J. Thorson, writ. commun., 2016).

Similar to Bald Mountain, the Archimedes deposit in the Eureka area is hosted in Pogonip Group silty limestones, in particular the basal Goodwin Limestone (Russell, 2000; Cook, 2015).

Latest Devonian and Mississippian host strata

A large number of deposits in the western part of the platform are hosted in the Mississippian Pilot Shale/Webb Formation/Tripon Pass Formation, Joana Limestone, and/or Chainman Shale and equivalent strata, all related to the foreland basin developed to the east of the Roberts Mountains allochthon (Fig. 4B). A large number are present in three clusters on the south end of the Carlin trend, including the Rain and Emigrant deposits, the Railroad district (Bullion and Pinion deposits), and portions of Bald Mountain and Alligator Ridge (Berger and Theodore, 2005). A linear array of deposits of this age is present in the southern part of the Cortez trend, including Pan, Goldrock, Green Springs, and Griffon (Fig. 13A). Deposits typically are of two types: (1) strata-bound within certain intervals, such as the transition between the Joana Limestone and the overlying Chainman Shale (e.g., Griffon), or (2) related to collapse breccias and/or karst breccias developed along the contact between the massive Guilmette/Devil’s Gate Limestones and the overlying Pilot Shale, Webb Formation, or Tripon Pass Formation (e.g., Rain, Pinion, Alligator Ridge, and Pan).

Fig. 13.

Examples of deposits hosted primarily in Mississippian strata. A) All deposits. Late Devonian-Early Mississippian platform margin after Cook (2015). Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic cross section illustrating deposit model for the Railroad district, showing mineralized breccias developed along steep faults and the karsted top of the Devils Gate Limestone (Dufresne et al, 2017). C) Geologic map of the Murcur mine pit area (Mako, 1999). D) Stratigraphic column of host rocks for mineralization at the Mercur mine (after Mako, 1999). Abbreviations: ss = sandstone, Tel = Tertiary Elko Formation; Tv = Tertiary volcanic rocks.

Fig. 13.

Examples of deposits hosted primarily in Mississippian strata. A) All deposits. Late Devonian-Early Mississippian platform margin after Cook (2015). Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic cross section illustrating deposit model for the Railroad district, showing mineralized breccias developed along steep faults and the karsted top of the Devils Gate Limestone (Dufresne et al, 2017). C) Geologic map of the Murcur mine pit area (Mako, 1999). D) Stratigraphic column of host rocks for mineralization at the Mercur mine (after Mako, 1999). Abbreviations: ss = sandstone, Tel = Tertiary Elko Formation; Tv = Tertiary volcanic rocks.

An in-depth discussion of these many deposits is beyond the scope of this paper. However, the Rain subdistrict in the southern Carlin trend, located near the shelf edge, is illustrative. Mineralization in this area consists primarily of hydrothermal and collapse breccias developed along the unconformity between the pre-Antler orogeny, Upper Devonian Devils Gate micritic limestone and the Mississippian Webb Formation mudstone related to the Antler foreland basin (Longo et al., 2002; Fig. 13B). The contact is marked by terra rosa-cemented limestone fragments. Mineralization is also focused along three faults, striking ~300°, 30°, and 0° azimuth. Collapse breccias related to dolomitization and dissolution of the Devils Gate Limestone preceded gold mineralization and served as channelways for mineralizing fluids. Breccias are healed with dolomite, calcite, and sooty auriferous pyrite. Multistage hydrothermal breccias are primarily formed within the Webb Formation and consist of crackle, heterolithic, and milled breccias. The main orebodies consist of the Rain, Saddle, and Tess deposits, which are aligned along the intersection of the 300°-striking Rain fault and unconformity and the Emigrant deposit, adjacent to the N-striking Emigrant fault (Longo et al., 2002). Recent biostratigraphic dating, facies interpretation, and structural studies suggest that the faults, originally interpreted as normal faults, may in fact be related to Mesozoic contractional deformation, and the low-angle faulting and folding may play an important role in the distribution of mineralization in the Rain subdistrict (Essman, 2011).

While most deposits in Mississippian strata are clustered in the western part of the shelf, at least one large district, Mercur, is located near the eastern edge of the Great Basin (Mako, 1999; Fig. 13A). Deposits in the Mercur district, with past production of over 3.5 Moz (109 t) of gold spanning a period of 127 years, were hosted in the Mercur Member of the Upper Mississippian Great Blue Formation, consisting of interbedded calcareous shale, limestone, and sandstone (Fig. 13C, D). The Mercur Member is exposed in the east limb of the Ophir anticline. Alteration consists of decarbonatization, silicification, argillic alteration, and carbonaceous alteration. Gold is hosted in arsenian pyrite, with associated marcasite, orpiment, realgar, thallium minerals, and organic matter. There is a geochemical association with As, Sb, Tl, Hg, and Ag and a spatial association with 36.7 Ma felsic dikes and 31.6 Ma rhyolite. However, Mako (1999) argues the gold deposition postdates igneous activity. Silver mineralization associated with extensive jasperoid development at the base of the Mercur Member may be more closely linked temporally with volcanism.

Pennsylvanian and Permian

Deposits hosted in Pennsylvanian and Permian strata are located primarily along the eastern edge of the Great Basin, within the Pennsylvanian Oquirrh Formation (northern Utah and southern Idaho) or Callville limestone (southwestern Utah), and the Permian Pakoon Dolomite (Fig. 14A). The Oquirrh and Callville Formations are highly variable in lithology and composition, with numerous siliciclastic sand and silt intervals reflecting proximity to highland areas to the east. Examples of sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in these strata include the Black Pine mine (also known as Mineral Gulch) in southern Idaho (Shaddrick, 2013), from which Pegasus produced approximately 450,000 oz (14 t) in the 1990s, and Barney’s Canyon distal disseminated gold deposit, north of the Bingham Canyon porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit, which produced over 1.8 Moz (56 t) for Kennecott Mining. Both deposits are hosted in complexly sheared and thrust-imbricated limestone, calcareous siltstone, dolomite, and sandstone of the Pennsylvanian Oquirrh Formation.

Fig. 14.

The Goldstrike deposit in southwestern Utah. A) Location map, showing deposits hosted primarily in Pennsylvanian and Permian strata. Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic stratigraphic section for the Goldstrike deposit area, with primarily host horizons identified. Scale very approximate. C) Simplified geologic map of the Goldstrike area. D) Simplified cross section through the Goldstrike graben. (From internal Pilot Gold (USA) Inc. files, 2016, 2017).

Fig. 14.

The Goldstrike deposit in southwestern Utah. A) Location map, showing deposits hosted primarily in Pennsylvanian and Permian strata. Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic stratigraphic section for the Goldstrike deposit area, with primarily host horizons identified. Scale very approximate. C) Simplified geologic map of the Goldstrike area. D) Simplified cross section through the Goldstrike graben. (From internal Pilot Gold (USA) Inc. files, 2016, 2017).

The Goldstrike mine, located northwest of St. George, Utah, is a sedimentary rock-hosted gold system that produced approximately 209,000 oz (6.5 t) of gold in an oxide heap leach operation in the 1990s for Tenneco and USMX (Willden and Adair, 1986; Willden, 2006). At Goldstrike, middle to upper Paleozoic strata were folded and thrust imbricated and thrust over Mesozoic quartz sandstones along the eastern boundary of the Sevier orogenic belt (Fig. 14B, C). A coeval apron of siliciclastic conglomerates, the Cretaceous Grapevine Wash Formation, was shed southward from the allochthon. The Eocene Claron Formation, consisting of variably calcareous siliciclastic sandstone, conglomerate, and conglomeratic limestone, overlies strata ranging from Mississippian to Cretaceous in age along a profound unconformity and is overlain in turn by Oligo-Miocene lacustrine limestone, tuff, and felsic to intermediate volcanic rocks. Subsequently, these strata were cut by listric normal and high-angle normal and oblique strike-slip faults, forming a series of arcuate, EW-trending grabens over an 8-km-long trend.

Gold mineralization at Goldstrike is focused along the basal Claron Formation unconformity both in the basal Claron Formation and within immediately underlying Paleozoic strata, including silty limestone horizons in the Callville Formation (Fig. 11F), a siliciclastic sand horizon in the Pakoon dolomite, and the Upper Mississippian Chainman Shale and Scotty Wash Quartzite. Grades and thicknesses of mineralization are elevated in areas where preferable host rocks, such as the Callville Limestone, are in contact with the Claron Formation. Some mineralization is also hosted in diorite dikes. The distribution of mineralization appears to be controlled by graben-bounding faults and smaller, NNW-striking and NE-striking faults (Fig. 14D). Gold mineralization is hosted primarily in jasperoid with iron oxides and to a lesser extent in decarbonatized, clay altered, and sulfidized strata, with the dominant ore mineral consisting of fine-grained arsenian pyrite. Gold is associated with As, Sb, and Ag. The age of mineralization is constrained to 18.61 ± 0.29 Ma or younger, based on a U-Pb zircon age obtained from a mineralized dike (De Witt, 2015).

On the western edge of the platform in the Railroad district, sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization in the Dark Star deposit is hosted in silicified conglomerate, silty mudstone, and bioclastic limestone of the Pennsylvanian Moleen and overlying Tomera Formations (Dufresne and Nicholls, 2017). The Moleen Formation consists primarily of siltstone with bioclastic limestone interbeds, whereas the Tomera Formation consists primarily of conglomeratic rocks interpreted as debris flows. The Tomera Formation hosts most of the gold in the Dark Star deposit (Dufresne and Nicholls, 2017).

Discussion and Implications for Exploration

The Paleozoic shelf and platform in the Great Basin is underexplored relative to the main trends on the slope to the west. It is a very large area that has already yielded discoveries of over 41 Moz (1,275 t) of gold (Table 1). Attempting to explore the entire shelf and platform for gold deposits would be beyond the scope of most exploration companies. However, restricting the search to the most prospective stratigraphic intervals and the most prospective structural environments, particularly in the presence of prospective intrusive rocks, can increase the odds and decrease the timeline to discovery, as detailed below.

Stratigraphic controls

Suitability of strata for hosting Carlin-style or distal disseminated sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits is influenced by three main factors: porosity/permeability, reactivity (presence of calcium carbonate), and the presence of iron. Slope facies strata often present all three factors in relatively thick sections of silty, calcareous thin-bedded limestone, turbidites, debris flows, slumps, and slides and are one of the reasons that Carlin-type deposits on the main trend are large in size and situated in rocks representing this depositional environment.

In contrast, platform interior (i.e., shelf lagoon) carbonate rocks are distinctly different and present a different set of challenges and criteria for host-rock suitability. Reactivity in platform interior carbonate rocks is variable from high (limestone) to low (dolostone) and is influenced by grain size, with fine-grained rocks being relatively more reactive than coarsely recrystallized ones. Diagenesis and metamorphism greatly affect relative grain size and may render the rocks relatively massive and impermeable. Other processes, such as karsting, would tend to increase porosity and permeability by dissolving calcium carbonate and leaving large, irregular cavities or pore spaces. Hydrothermal processes may also lead to an increase in porosity and permeability through dolomitization and/or removal of calcium carbonate along preexisting joints and faults. Calcite-cemented siltstone, sandstone, and conglomerate would also be expected to have an increase in permeability and porosity through interaction with acidic fluids.

Iron content in platform interior carbonate rocks, in general, is relatively low. However, it may be elevated in silty or shaley intervals that contain iron-rich wind-blown silt. Karst fill, whether related to weathering or hydrothermal processes, often contains significant reddish-colored, iron-rich silt through concentration of residual material (terra rosa). Even in areas with no karsting, extended periods of subaerial exposure and erosion can favor the accumulation of iron-bearing silt. Deformation and removal of calcium carbonate through pressure solution can also increase the proportion of residual, reddish-colored, iron-bearing silt (Cook, 2015).

From the above, when exploring new platform interior areas, it might reasonably be expected that the best gold host rocks, from a stratigraphic standpoint, would make up karsted unconformities and overlying transgressive sequence tracts containing silty limestones as well as calcite-cemented siltstone, sandstone, and conglomerate, as might be found in foreland basin strata.

Five time-stratigraphic horizons, spanning the Middle Cambrian to Pennsylvanian time, host most of the known gold deposits in the eastern Great Basin. The main ore hosts include the following:

  1. Middle Cambrian strata including the uppermost portion of the Eldorado dolomite/Geddes Limestone and overlying Secret Canyon Shale/Clarks Spring Formation;

  2. the Upper Cambrian strata including the variably karsted, uppermost portion of the Hamburg/Big Horse/Oasis Formations and the overlying Candland Shale/Dunderberg shale;

  3. uppermost Upper Cambrian/Lower Ordovician strata including the variably karsted top of the Notch Peak Formation and the lower portion of the Lower Ordovician Pogonip Group;

  4. variably limy Mississippian foreland basin siliciclastic strata, including the Pilot Shale, Joana Limestone, and Chainman Shale;

  5. the Pennsylvanian Oquirrh and Callville limestones in the easternmost Great Basin and the Tomera and Moleen Formations in the south end of the Carlin trend.

In (1) to (3) above, each interval contains an exposure surface representing a sea-level lowstand and local to widespread karsting, followed by inundation and deposition of relatively thin bedded, shaley rocks (transgressive sequence tract transitional into a highstand tract; Fig. 9). Karst fill provides an ideal host through the formation and infilling of cavities by porous and permeable, iron-bearing terrestrial silt, which provides a source of iron for sulfidation and gold deposition. Overlying transgressive lag packstone and shaley and silty strata might also be expected to exhibit higher primary porosity and higher Fe content relative to either massive limestone or dolostone.

Mississippian strata consisting of variably limy siltstone and coarser clastic rocks constitutes a dominant ore host in the western part of the Antler foreland basin, immediately inboard of the Cambrian to Devonian shelf edge.

Pennsylvanian and Permian strata consisting of cyclicly bedded limestone and calcareous siltstone and sandstone are the most common ore host in the eastern portion of the Great Basin in western Utah and southern Idaho.

In a few cases (Goldstrike, Utah; Alligator Ridge, Nevada), gold mineralization extends to Eocene conglomerates immediately overlying mineralized Paleozoic strata. The presence of gold mineralization of known or suspected sedimentary rock-hosted type in these rocks suggests either that host rocks were buried rapidly prior to mineralization, that mineralization was emplaced at a very shallow depth, or that mineralization is significantly younger than the host rocks, such as is the case at Goldstrike, Utah.

Structural controls

Throughout the eastern Great Basin, Paleozoic strata were moderately to strongly affected by one or more Mesozoic contractional events, including the Elko and Sevier orogenies. In the case of the Elko orogeny, largely ductile deformation gave rise to attenuation faults and folds and locally to boudinage on a deposit scale. The Sevier orogeny produced favorable fold axial areas and low-angle thrust faults that form traps and conduits. These structures also served to focus subsequent Cenozoic brittle normal faulting and the distribution of mineralization in deposits such as Long Canyon, West Pequop, and Kinsley. At Long Canyon, weakly acidic hydrothermal fluids and/or meteoric water eroded and enlarged fault zones, increasing porosity and leading to the formation of collapse breccias, with a matrix of iron-rich clastic material.

In many areas on the shelf, the orientation of Eocene normal faults are at least partially, if not entirely, controlled by axial planes of folds and other structures associated with Mesozoic contractional episodes, which overwhelmingly strike north-northeast and verge east-southeast, with secondary control along west-northwest to northwest cross structures. Examples of deposits that strike north-northeast, parallel to fold axes, and/or northwest include the Rain and Bullion districts, Carlin-type mineralization at Bald Mountain and Alligator Ridge, and deposits at Mercur, Long Canyon, and Kinsley. In general, structural complexity is essential for generation of gold deposits on the platform.

The distribution of gold mineralization on the main trends is closely tied to N- to NNW-striking extensional structures. However, as summarized by Rhys et al. (2015) for the Carlin trend and demonstrated by Smith et al. (2013) on the shelf, the recognition that the orientation of Cenozoic extensional structures is partially to strongly controlled by Mesozoic folds and faults has shed new light on the complex relationship between Mesozoic contractional and Cenozoic extensional structures as ore controls. This appears to be particularly true on the shelf, where bedding-parallel thrust faults and fold axial planes strongly influence the distribution of later faults and gold mineralization. At the very least, structural complexity is virtually a prerequisite for gold mineralization.

Intrusive rocks

Many deposits, particularly those hosted in Cambrian, Ordovician, and Pennsylvanian strata, are located in close proximity to small stocks or dikes, including Kinsley (37 Ma Kinsley stock), Bald Mountain (Jurassic Bald Mountain stock), Mercur (ca. 37 Ma felsic dikes), Drum (ca. 37 Ma porphyry dikes), and Goldstrike (ca. 12 Ma Mineral Mountain stock and ca. 18 Ma diorite dikes). At Bald Mountain, gold mineralization proximal to the Jurassic Bald Mountain stock is related to the stock, whereas mineralization in more distal areas to the south (e.g., Alligator Ridge) is believed to be Eocene in age and is not found in proximity to intrusive rocks. At Kinsley, the Kinsley stock is located several km to the south of the gold zone, and, despite being 37 m.y. old and thus contemporaneous with mineralization on the Carlin trend, the genetic relationship between the stock and gold mineralization is still ambiguous.

Alteration, mineralization, and geochemistry

Alteration types are nearly identical to alteration found on the main trends: silicification (jasperoidization), decarbonatization, and clay (illite) alteration are the primary types, with dolomitization also common in some deposits. The latter can be important locally as early (premineral) dolomitization would facilitate the addition of iron to otherwise iron-poor rocks in the form of ferroan dolomite. In many areas of the shelf, including western areas where deposits are primarily hosted in Mississippian foreland basin strata, silicification is very well developed and is the primary alteration type, with most of the existing deposits discovered through drilling of jasperoid that crops out. In other deposits, such as much of Long Canyon and the Western Flank at Kinsley, silicification is not as strongly developed.

As with deposits on the main trends, gold is hosted in the crystal structure of arsenian, trace element-rich pyrite, either in typically micron sized grains or as micron-sized rims on pre-ore pyrite. Hence the presence of arsenates and iron oxides at the surface are the best indicators of mineralization at depth, and many deposits are known only as oxidized equivalents.

As with gold deposits on the main trends, an association of gold with As, Sb, Hg, and Tl is seen in most deposits. Many deposits have a lower Au/Ag ratio than most deposits on the main trends (>1–3 vs. 3–20; Hofstra and Cline, 2000), and others, where in close proximity to intrusions, have elevated Cu, Zn, and Bi.

Regional distribution of deposits

Sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in the main trends and on the platform lie entirely within an area bounded by the strontium 0.706 line (regarded as an indicator of the western edge of Precambrian basement rocks) on the west and the eastern edge of the Basin and Range Province to the east, which roughly corresponds to the leading edge of the Sevier thrust belt. The area within these boundaries corresponds to a present-day area of relatively thin crust (Lowry and Pérez-Gussinyé, 2011; Fig. 15A). While it is unlikely that the crust was significantly thinned during Eocene time, this clear spatial association suggests that the crustal-scale structures that facilitated thinning in the mid-Cenozoic were already present during the time of mineralization and may have served as conduits for Eocene Carlin-style mineralization (Fig. 15B; Leonardson, 2015). Muntean et al. (2007) provide evidence for the presence of NW-striking Paleozoic normal faults that may have originated during Late Proterozoic rifting and are present throughout the main trends and as far east as Bald Mountain. They postulate that these faults were reactivated periodically during the Phanerozoic and may have served as conduits for hydrothermal fluids that gave rise to Carlin-style deposits. These faults have not been documented to the east of Bald Mountain but may be present in the subsurface and may have facilitated Cenozoic extension. On the shelf, additional deposits can be expected to be found within the Basin and Range Province but are unlikely to be found to the east of it. With the exception of deposits lying along the southeastern extensions of the Carlin and Cortez trends, distinct mineralized trends have not yet been identified on the shelf.

Fig. 15.

A) Great Basin sedimentary rock-hosted deposits on a map of crustal thickness from Lowry and Pérez-Gussinyé, 2011. Yellow and red areas represent relatively thin crust associated with the Basin and Range Province. B) Schematic cross section through the Great Basin from western Nevada to central Utah (Leonardson, 2015). In this interpretation, extended basement extends eastward to the edge of the Great Basin. Abbreviations: BC = Barney’s Canyon, BMET = Battle Mountain-Eureka trend, CT = Carlin trend, IT = Independence trend, RMT = Roberts Mountains thrust, ST = Snake trend.

Fig. 15.

A) Great Basin sedimentary rock-hosted deposits on a map of crustal thickness from Lowry and Pérez-Gussinyé, 2011. Yellow and red areas represent relatively thin crust associated with the Basin and Range Province. B) Schematic cross section through the Great Basin from western Nevada to central Utah (Leonardson, 2015). In this interpretation, extended basement extends eastward to the edge of the Great Basin. Abbreviations: BC = Barney’s Canyon, BMET = Battle Mountain-Eureka trend, CT = Carlin trend, IT = Independence trend, RMT = Roberts Mountains thrust, ST = Snake trend.

Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments

Inspiration for this paper derives from collaboration with John Muntean to present a forum for discussion of Carlin-style deposits outside of their usual home on the main trends in north-central Nevada. The lead author’s interest in the eastern Great Basin was piqued by an opportunity to lead the Fronteer Gold team in the exploration of the Long Canyon deposit and to be part of a team at Pilot Gold tasked with identifying and exploring Kinsley, Goldstrike (Utah), and other properties on the shelf. Thanks to colleagues at Pilot and Fronteer, particularly Pete Shabestari and Randy Hannink, who generated much of the data in the property description section. Inspiration for this compilation comes from associations and friendships with many Great Basin geologists and in particular outside-the-box thinkers like Chuck Thorman. As with any summary and compilation paper, we relied heavily on a vast array of previous research and publications. The authors would like to thank Ken Krahulec, Jon Thorson, and John Muntean for thoughtful and insightful reviews.

Inspiration for this paper derives from collaboration with John Muntean to present a forum for discussion of Carlin-style deposits outside of their usual home on the main trends in north-central Nevada. The lead author’s interest in the eastern Great Basin was piqued by an opportunity to lead the Fronteer Gold team in the exploration of the Long Canyon deposit and to be part of a team at Pilot Gold tasked with identifying and exploring Kinsley, Goldstrike (Utah), and other properties on the shelf. Thanks to colleagues at Pilot and Fronteer, particularly Pete Shabestari and Randy Hannink, who generated much of the data in the property description section. Inspiration for this compilation comes from associations and friendships with many Great Basin geologists and in particular outside-the-box thinkers like Chuck Thorman. As with any summary and compilation paper, we relied heavily on a vast array of previous research and publications. The authors would like to thank Ken Krahulec, Jon Thorson, and John Muntean for thoughtful and insightful reviews.

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Figures & Tables

Fig. 1.

Schematic tectonostratigraphic map of Nevada and western Utah. The approximate outline of the Basin and Range Province is shown as a blue dashed line. Tan shaded area denotes the subject area of this paper. After Tosdal et al. (2000) and Smith et al. (2013). See also Cook (2015, fig. 30) for interpreted Late Proterozoic passive margin rifting fault systems and associated transform faults and Cook (2015, “Structural controls on platform margin locations”).

Fig. 1.

Schematic tectonostratigraphic map of Nevada and western Utah. The approximate outline of the Basin and Range Province is shown as a blue dashed line. Tan shaded area denotes the subject area of this paper. After Tosdal et al. (2000) and Smith et al. (2013). See also Cook (2015, fig. 30) for interpreted Late Proterozoic passive margin rifting fault systems and associated transform faults and Cook (2015, “Structural controls on platform margin locations”).

Fig. 2.

A) Schematic cross section showing a complete depositional cycle (i.e., depositional sequence) for a carbonate-rimmed shelf, made up of sea-level lowstand, sea-level transgressive, and sea-level highstand sequence tracts. Yellow bars indicate favorable host-rock environments for gold deposits on the shelf and slope (modified after Cook, 2015). A complete depositional cycle (i.e., a depositional sequence) is represented by the interval from a sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-1) through a sea-level highstand (maximum flooding surface MFS-1) to the superjacent sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-2). B) Schematic section through a depositional cycle in the rock record. C) Schematic illustration of sequence tracts relative to sea-level rise and fall.

Fig. 2.

A) Schematic cross section showing a complete depositional cycle (i.e., depositional sequence) for a carbonate-rimmed shelf, made up of sea-level lowstand, sea-level transgressive, and sea-level highstand sequence tracts. Yellow bars indicate favorable host-rock environments for gold deposits on the shelf and slope (modified after Cook, 2015). A complete depositional cycle (i.e., a depositional sequence) is represented by the interval from a sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-1) through a sea-level highstand (maximum flooding surface MFS-1) to the superjacent sea-level lowstand (sequence boundary SB-2). B) Schematic section through a depositional cycle in the rock record. C) Schematic illustration of sequence tracts relative to sea-level rise and fall.

Fig. 3.

A) Idealized depositional sequence on the early Paleozoic shelf, with illustration of various facies types from the House Range in western Utah. B) Marjum Formation massive grainstone typical of shallow-water conditions present in a lowstand tract. C) Bighorse limestone algal bioherms developed in intertidal zone at a lowstand cycle top. D) Candland Formation shallow-water lag-packstone immediately overlying the algal bioherm horizon in (B) at the start of a transgressive cycle. E) Weeks Limestone shallow-water interbedded limestone and limy siltstone in a transgressive sequence tract. Relative positions of the formations named above can be seen in the westerly of the two House Range sections in Figure 6. Abbreviations: HST = highstand tract, LST = lowstand tract, TST = transgressive tract.

Fig. 3.

A) Idealized depositional sequence on the early Paleozoic shelf, with illustration of various facies types from the House Range in western Utah. B) Marjum Formation massive grainstone typical of shallow-water conditions present in a lowstand tract. C) Bighorse limestone algal bioherms developed in intertidal zone at a lowstand cycle top. D) Candland Formation shallow-water lag-packstone immediately overlying the algal bioherm horizon in (B) at the start of a transgressive cycle. E) Weeks Limestone shallow-water interbedded limestone and limy siltstone in a transgressive sequence tract. Relative positions of the formations named above can be seen in the westerly of the two House Range sections in Figure 6. Abbreviations: HST = highstand tract, LST = lowstand tract, TST = transgressive tract.

Fig. 4.

Schematic cross sections through the Great Basin showing pre-Antler stratigraphic and tectonic relationships from Late Cambrian through Permian time. A) Late Cambrian through Early Mississippian passive-margin depositional facies profile. This facies profile shows that the Early Cambrian-Late Devonian is comprised of 11 depositional sequences generated by 11 sea-level cycles. The section runs approximately through central Nevada from the Toquima Range through the Carlin, Cortez, Bald Mountain, and Long Canyon-Kinsley area. Not to scale. Total width of the slope-basin portion is approximately 80 km. Total width of the shelf-platform area is approximately 130 km. Total thickness of the Cambrian section is approximately 2,500 m. Total thickness of the Ordovician through Early Mississippian section is 4,500 to 6,000 m. B) Latest Devonian through Permian (post-Antler) foreland basin and shallow marine setting (Cook, 2015). Thickness highly variable, up to several thousand meters.

Fig. 4.

Schematic cross sections through the Great Basin showing pre-Antler stratigraphic and tectonic relationships from Late Cambrian through Permian time. A) Late Cambrian through Early Mississippian passive-margin depositional facies profile. This facies profile shows that the Early Cambrian-Late Devonian is comprised of 11 depositional sequences generated by 11 sea-level cycles. The section runs approximately through central Nevada from the Toquima Range through the Carlin, Cortez, Bald Mountain, and Long Canyon-Kinsley area. Not to scale. Total width of the slope-basin portion is approximately 80 km. Total width of the shelf-platform area is approximately 130 km. Total thickness of the Cambrian section is approximately 2,500 m. Total thickness of the Ordovician through Early Mississippian section is 4,500 to 6,000 m. B) Latest Devonian through Permian (post-Antler) foreland basin and shallow marine setting (Cook, 2015). Thickness highly variable, up to several thousand meters.

Fig. 5.

A) Major Mesozoic tectonic events in the Great Basin over space and time (Thorman and Peterson, 2004). B) Approximate map distribution of Elko and Sevier deformation, after Nutt et al. (1996) and Greene (2014). While the effects of the Elko Orogeny were likely more wide ranging (Thorman and Peterson, 2004), only those areas with documented metamorphism, attenuation faulting, or clear-cut evidence for mid-Jurassic age of deformation are shown.

Fig. 5.

A) Major Mesozoic tectonic events in the Great Basin over space and time (Thorman and Peterson, 2004). B) Approximate map distribution of Elko and Sevier deformation, after Nutt et al. (1996) and Greene (2014). While the effects of the Elko Orogeny were likely more wide ranging (Thorman and Peterson, 2004), only those areas with documented metamorphism, attenuation faulting, or clear-cut evidence for mid-Jurassic age of deformation are shown.

Fig. 6.

Cambrian-Ordovician stratigraphic columns for portions of eight mountain ranges in eastern Nevada and western Utah, after Cook (2015). Red boxes and text show the stratigraphic host rocks for significant sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in these ranges. Inset map shows geographic locations of stratigraphic columns. See Figure 8 for a map of the Great Basin with coordinate ticks.

Fig. 6.

Cambrian-Ordovician stratigraphic columns for portions of eight mountain ranges in eastern Nevada and western Utah, after Cook (2015). Red boxes and text show the stratigraphic host rocks for significant sedimentary rock-hosted gold deposits in these ranges. Inset map shows geographic locations of stratigraphic columns. See Figure 8 for a map of the Great Basin with coordinate ticks.

Fig. 7.

Extent of autochthonous Pennsylvanian (A) and Permian (B) strata in the eastern Great Basin, after Bissel (1964) and Hintze and Kowallis (2009). Highlands were periodic sources of sediment and may be warps related to periodic tectonic activity in the Antler-Sonoma highlands to the west (Bissel, 1964; Hintze and Kowallis, 2009).

Fig. 7.

Extent of autochthonous Pennsylvanian (A) and Permian (B) strata in the eastern Great Basin, after Bissel (1964) and Hintze and Kowallis (2009). Highlands were periodic sources of sediment and may be warps related to periodic tectonic activity in the Antler-Sonoma highlands to the west (Bissel, 1964; Hintze and Kowallis, 2009).

Fig. 8.

Locations of deposits, mines, and significant showings representing either Carlin-style or distal disseminated gold deposits in Paleozoic shelf strata in the eastern Great Basin. Large dots with black centers and labels are compiled in Table 1, with references therein; all others are from Laravie (2012) and encompass both on-shelf and off-shelf deposits. Early Devonian platform margin after Cook (2015).

Fig. 8.

Locations of deposits, mines, and significant showings representing either Carlin-style or distal disseminated gold deposits in Paleozoic shelf strata in the eastern Great Basin. Large dots with black centers and labels are compiled in Table 1, with references therein; all others are from Laravie (2012) and encompass both on-shelf and off-shelf deposits. Early Devonian platform margin after Cook (2015).

Fig. 9.

Summary of Early Cambrian through early Late Ordovician stratigraphy on the western North American platform. Vertical scale highly variable by location but is on the order of 2,000 to 4,000 m.

Fig. 9.

Summary of Early Cambrian through early Late Ordovician stratigraphy on the western North American platform. Vertical scale highly variable by location but is on the order of 2,000 to 4,000 m.

Fig. 10.

A) Location map for the Kinsley mine, as well as other deposits hosted in Cambrian strata in the eastern Great Basin (Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook, 2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column for Kinsley (after Hannink et al., 2015). Orange shaded zones represent major lowstand and overlying transgressive sequence tracts, which also correspond to gold-bearing host strata. C) Geologic map of the Kinsley Range (after Hannink et al., 2015). Sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization at the historic Kinsley mine is located approximately 3 km north of a 38 Ma stock. Vertical scale on stratigraphic section approximately 2,000 m.

Fig. 10.

A) Location map for the Kinsley mine, as well as other deposits hosted in Cambrian strata in the eastern Great Basin (Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook, 2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column for Kinsley (after Hannink et al., 2015). Orange shaded zones represent major lowstand and overlying transgressive sequence tracts, which also correspond to gold-bearing host strata. C) Geologic map of the Kinsley Range (after Hannink et al., 2015). Sedimentary rock-hosted gold mineralization at the historic Kinsley mine is located approximately 3 km north of a 38 Ma stock. Vertical scale on stratigraphic section approximately 2,000 m.

Fig. 11.

Host-rock types and styles of mineralization in shelf deposits. A) Auriferous pyrite replacing thin shale beds in the Middle Cambrian Clarks Spring Member of the Secret Canyon Shale, Western Flank deposit, Kinsley. B) Mineralized, oxidized, and sheared Dunderberg Shale within an attenuation fault, Kinsley. C) Silicified karst fill in the upper portion of the Upper Cambrian Notch Peak Formation, Kinsley. D) Mineralized and oxidized silty laminations near the base of the Ordovician Pogonip Group, Long Canyon. E) Mineralized and oxidized karst fill, Long Canyon. F) Mineralized and oxidized calcareous siltstone beds interlayered with massive limestone beds in the Pennsylvanian Calville Limestone, Goldstrike property.

Fig. 11.

Host-rock types and styles of mineralization in shelf deposits. A) Auriferous pyrite replacing thin shale beds in the Middle Cambrian Clarks Spring Member of the Secret Canyon Shale, Western Flank deposit, Kinsley. B) Mineralized, oxidized, and sheared Dunderberg Shale within an attenuation fault, Kinsley. C) Silicified karst fill in the upper portion of the Upper Cambrian Notch Peak Formation, Kinsley. D) Mineralized and oxidized silty laminations near the base of the Ordovician Pogonip Group, Long Canyon. E) Mineralized and oxidized karst fill, Long Canyon. F) Mineralized and oxidized calcareous siltstone beds interlayered with massive limestone beds in the Pennsylvanian Calville Limestone, Goldstrike property.

Fig. 12.

Long Canyon deposit stratigraphy and structural setting. A) Location map, with other deposits in Ordovician rocks highlighted. Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook (2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column of the gold host rocks at Long Canyon. Abbreviations in insets B1 and B2 are informal units within the Ordovician Pogonip Group and Cambrian Notch Peak Formation; rock types are indicated to the left of the unit abbreviations. C) Deposit footprint on geology, showing NNE-elongate trend of the deposit, following boudin/crack margins. D) Schematic cross section showing gold mineralization focused along NNE-trending boudin necks and cracks in the Notch Peak dolomite (Cnpd). These structures formed during Jurassic and/or Cretaceous deformation and were subsequently exploited by early Cenozoic normal faults. Figs. 12B, C, and D after Smith et al. (2013). Abbreviation: mC = Middle Cambrian.

Fig. 12.

Long Canyon deposit stratigraphy and structural setting. A) Location map, with other deposits in Ordovician rocks highlighted. Late Cambrian-Early Ordovician platform margin after Cook (2015). Star marks deposit considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Stratigraphic column of the gold host rocks at Long Canyon. Abbreviations in insets B1 and B2 are informal units within the Ordovician Pogonip Group and Cambrian Notch Peak Formation; rock types are indicated to the left of the unit abbreviations. C) Deposit footprint on geology, showing NNE-elongate trend of the deposit, following boudin/crack margins. D) Schematic cross section showing gold mineralization focused along NNE-trending boudin necks and cracks in the Notch Peak dolomite (Cnpd). These structures formed during Jurassic and/or Cretaceous deformation and were subsequently exploited by early Cenozoic normal faults. Figs. 12B, C, and D after Smith et al. (2013). Abbreviation: mC = Middle Cambrian.

Fig. 13.

Examples of deposits hosted primarily in Mississippian strata. A) All deposits. Late Devonian-Early Mississippian platform margin after Cook (2015). Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic cross section illustrating deposit model for the Railroad district, showing mineralized breccias developed along steep faults and the karsted top of the Devils Gate Limestone (Dufresne et al, 2017). C) Geologic map of the Murcur mine pit area (Mako, 1999). D) Stratigraphic column of host rocks for mineralization at the Mercur mine (after Mako, 1999). Abbreviations: ss = sandstone, Tel = Tertiary Elko Formation; Tv = Tertiary volcanic rocks.

Fig. 13.

Examples of deposits hosted primarily in Mississippian strata. A) All deposits. Late Devonian-Early Mississippian platform margin after Cook (2015). Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic cross section illustrating deposit model for the Railroad district, showing mineralized breccias developed along steep faults and the karsted top of the Devils Gate Limestone (Dufresne et al, 2017). C) Geologic map of the Murcur mine pit area (Mako, 1999). D) Stratigraphic column of host rocks for mineralization at the Mercur mine (after Mako, 1999). Abbreviations: ss = sandstone, Tel = Tertiary Elko Formation; Tv = Tertiary volcanic rocks.

Fig. 14.

The Goldstrike deposit in southwestern Utah. A) Location map, showing deposits hosted primarily in Pennsylvanian and Permian strata. Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic stratigraphic section for the Goldstrike deposit area, with primarily host horizons identified. Scale very approximate. C) Simplified geologic map of the Goldstrike area. D) Simplified cross section through the Goldstrike graben. (From internal Pilot Gold (USA) Inc. files, 2016, 2017).

Fig. 14.

The Goldstrike deposit in southwestern Utah. A) Location map, showing deposits hosted primarily in Pennsylvanian and Permian strata. Stars mark deposits considered in this figure and discussed in text. B) Schematic stratigraphic section for the Goldstrike deposit area, with primarily host horizons identified. Scale very approximate. C) Simplified geologic map of the Goldstrike area. D) Simplified cross section through the Goldstrike graben. (From internal Pilot Gold (USA) Inc. files, 2016, 2017).

Fig. 15.

A) Great Basin sedimentary rock-hosted deposits on a map of crustal thickness from Lowry and Pérez-Gussinyé, 2011. Yellow and red areas represent relatively thin crust associated with the Basin and Range Province. B) Schematic cross section through the Great Basin from western Nevada to central Utah (Leonardson, 2015). In this interpretation, extended basement extends eastward to the edge of the Great Basin. Abbreviations: BC = Barney’s Canyon, BMET = Battle Mountain-Eureka trend, CT = Carlin trend, IT = Independence trend, RMT = Roberts Mountains thrust, ST = Snake trend.

Fig. 15.

A) Great Basin sedimentary rock-hosted deposits on a map of crustal thickness from Lowry and Pérez-Gussinyé, 2011. Yellow and red areas represent relatively thin crust associated with the Basin and Range Province. B) Schematic cross section through the Great Basin from western Nevada to central Utah (Leonardson, 2015). In this interpretation, extended basement extends eastward to the edge of the Great Basin. Abbreviations: BC = Barney’s Canyon, BMET = Battle Mountain-Eureka trend, CT = Carlin trend, IT = Independence trend, RMT = Roberts Mountains thrust, ST = Snake trend.

Table 1.

Sedimentary Rock-Hosted Gold Mines, Past-Producing Mines, Deposits, and Significant Prospects in the Shelf Area of the Great Basin

PropertyLatitudeLongitudeStatusReserve oz Au1Reserve tonnes Au1Grade g/tResource oz Au2Resource tonnes Au2Grade g/t3
Alligator Ridge39.760–115.517Producer      
Antelope39.900–114.46Exploration   17,000 0.6
Bald Mountain39.967–115.595Producer2,460,00076.50.624,338,236134.90.56
Barney’s Canyon/Melco40.587–112.157Past producer      
Bellview40.086–115.63Exploration   35,0001.11.33
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)42.078–113.042Past producer, exploration   501,84815.60.47
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   211,0006.60.93
Dark Star40.460–115.965Exploration   980,90030.50.54, 1.31
Drum39.526–113.01Past producer, exploration      
Emigrant40.618–115.973Producer1,240,00038.6    
Goldrock39.180–115.673Development   1,049,00032.60.69, 0.79
Goldstrike, Utah37.386–113.882Past producer, exploration      
Gollaher41.880–114.44Exploration      
Green Springs39.140–115.553Past producer      
Griffon39.100–115.25Past producer   34,0001.10.76
Illipah39.459–115.448Past producer   34,0001.11.23
Jones Creek41.954–113.41Exploration   18,1110.60.6
KB41.468–114.045Exploration   40,0001.20.72
Kinsley40.150–114.36Past producer, exploration   527,00016.41.13, 2.27
Limousine/Golden Butte39.888–115.048Past producer, exploration   291,7809.10.70–0.77
Long Canyon40.978–114.526Producer1,170,00036.42.092,020,00062.81.86, 3.52
Maverick Springs40.135–115.3093Exploration   1,370,70042.60.3
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon40.315–112.197Past producer   95,0003.01.2
Mineral Mountain37.392–113.933Exploration   41,1441.30.42
Morgan Pass40.668–114.306Exploration      
North Bullion40.463–116Exploration   895,80027.90.43–3.29
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)40.125–113.81Exploration   73,0002.30.86
Pan39.301–115.756Development   915,00028.50.42
Pinion40.463–116Advanced exploration   1,711,60053.2.55, .62
Pony Creek40.350–115.98Exploration   1,380,00042.91.51
Rain40.614–116.0098Past producer      
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   143,0004.40.72
Ruby Hill-Archimedes39.526–115.986Producer140,0244.40.974,211,246131.0 
Sand Pass39.580–113.38Exploration   8,0000.20.69
Sandy37.600–115.85Exploration      
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)39.420–116Past producer, exploration   649,00020.20.53
South Eureka (South Adit)39.420–115.97Exploration   45,0001.4 
Windfall39.440–115.98Past producer      
South Railroad (Trout Creek)40.530–116.086Advanced exploration   520,00016.20.9
Spruce40.550–114.874Exploration      
Star Pointer39.253–114.98Past producer      
Taylor39.166–114.737Past producer (Ag)      
Tug41.422–114.032Advanced exploration   242,3437.50.82
Washington Dome37.108–113.47Exploration   67,0002.10.9
West Peqoup40.964–114.613Advanced exploration   313,5709.81.45
White Pine40.006–115.731Exploration   34,0001.11.13
Wood Hills South40.909–114.787Exploration      
Total   5,010,024155.8 22,813,278709.5 
PropertyLatitudeLongitudeStatusReserve oz Au1Reserve tonnes Au1Grade g/tResource oz Au2Resource tonnes Au2Grade g/t3
Alligator Ridge39.760–115.517Producer      
Antelope39.900–114.46Exploration   17,000 0.6
Bald Mountain39.967–115.595Producer2,460,00076.50.624,338,236134.90.56
Barney’s Canyon/Melco40.587–112.157Past producer      
Bellview40.086–115.63Exploration   35,0001.11.33
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)42.078–113.042Past producer, exploration   501,84815.60.47
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   211,0006.60.93
Dark Star40.460–115.965Exploration   980,90030.50.54, 1.31
Drum39.526–113.01Past producer, exploration      
Emigrant40.618–115.973Producer1,240,00038.6    
Goldrock39.180–115.673Development   1,049,00032.60.69, 0.79
Goldstrike, Utah37.386–113.882Past producer, exploration      
Gollaher41.880–114.44Exploration      
Green Springs39.140–115.553Past producer      
Griffon39.100–115.25Past producer   34,0001.10.76
Illipah39.459–115.448Past producer   34,0001.11.23
Jones Creek41.954–113.41Exploration   18,1110.60.6
KB41.468–114.045Exploration   40,0001.20.72
Kinsley40.150–114.36Past producer, exploration   527,00016.41.13, 2.27
Limousine/Golden Butte39.888–115.048Past producer, exploration   291,7809.10.70–0.77
Long Canyon40.978–114.526Producer1,170,00036.42.092,020,00062.81.86, 3.52
Maverick Springs40.135–115.3093Exploration   1,370,70042.60.3
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon40.315–112.197Past producer   95,0003.01.2
Mineral Mountain37.392–113.933Exploration   41,1441.30.42
Morgan Pass40.668–114.306Exploration      
North Bullion40.463–116Exploration   895,80027.90.43–3.29
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)40.125–113.81Exploration   73,0002.30.86
Pan39.301–115.756Development   915,00028.50.42
Pinion40.463–116Advanced exploration   1,711,60053.2.55, .62
Pony Creek40.350–115.98Exploration   1,380,00042.91.51
Rain40.614–116.0098Past producer      
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)39.071–113.654Exploration   143,0004.40.72
Ruby Hill-Archimedes39.526–115.986Producer140,0244.40.974,211,246131.0 
Sand Pass39.580–113.38Exploration   8,0000.20.69
Sandy37.600–115.85Exploration      
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)39.420–116Past producer, exploration   649,00020.20.53
South Eureka (South Adit)39.420–115.97Exploration   45,0001.4 
Windfall39.440–115.98Past producer      
South Railroad (Trout Creek)40.530–116.086Advanced exploration   520,00016.20.9
Spruce40.550–114.874Exploration      
Star Pointer39.253–114.98Past producer      
Taylor39.166–114.737Past producer (Ag)      
Tug41.422–114.032Advanced exploration   242,3437.50.82
Washington Dome37.108–113.47Exploration   67,0002.10.9
West Peqoup40.964–114.613Advanced exploration   313,5709.81.45
White Pine40.006–115.731Exploration   34,0001.11.13
Wood Hills South40.909–114.787Exploration      
Total   5,010,024155.8 22,813,278709.5 
PropertyProduction oz AuProduction tonnes AuGrade g/t3Primary ore hostHost ageSecondary ore hostHost age
Alligator Ridge660,000  Pilot shaleMississippianGuillmette FormationDevonian
Antelope   Pilot shale/Joana Ls.Mississippian  
Bald Mountain2,541,35679.00.38–2.30Dunderberg, Pogonip, WindfallUpper CambrianPilot, Joana, ChainmanMississippian
Barney’s Canyon/Melco1,835,94057.11.44–2.40Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanianPark CityPermian
Bellview32,0001.0 Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianEldorado DolomiteMiddle Cambrian
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)615,79419.20.52–1.73Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanian  
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Dark Star   Moleen Fm., Tomera Fm.Pennsylvanian  
Drum126,4353.91.23Chisholm, Howell, Tatlow Fms.Middle Cambrian  
Emigrant20,7380.6 Webb FormationMississippian  
Goldrock52,4001.6 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Goldstrike, Utah209,0006.51.2Calville Ls.PennsylvanianClaronEocene
Gollaher   UndifferentiatedPennsylvanianUndifferentiatedPermian
Green Springs87,0002.72.1Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Griffon100,0003.1 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Illipah54,0001.7 Pilot/JoanaMississippian  
Jones Creek   Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
KB   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Kinsley138,0004.31.3Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianDunderberg shaleUpper Cambrian
Limousine/Golden Butte43,5191.4 Pilot ShaleMississippianUndifferentiatedDevonian
Long Canyon99,0003.1 Lower PogonipOrdovicianUpper Notch PeakUpper Cambrian
Maverick Springs   Rib Hill FormationPermian  
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon3,565,691110.91.03–6.79Great Blue FormationMississippian  
Mineral Mountain   Claron sandstoneTertiaryCallville limestone 
Pennsylvanian       
Morgan Pass   Pogonip GroupCambrianPogonip GroupOrdovician
North Bullion   Webb-Tripon PassMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)   Ochre Mountain Fm., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Pan21,3160.7 Pilot shaleMississippian  
Pinion   Webb FormationMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Pony Creek   Chainman shaleMississippian  
Rain1,327,00041.3 Webb FormationMississippian  
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Ruby Hill-Archimedes1,403,74743.70.69–4.41Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
Sand Pass   Howell, ChisholmMiddle Cambrian  
Sandy   Dunderberg Sh.Middle Cambrian  
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)17,7000.64.11Dunderberg Sh., Hamburg Dol.Upper CambrianSecret Canyon shaleMiddle Cambrian
South Eureka(South Adit)   Dunderberg Sh.Upper Cambrian  
Windfall330,00010.31.0–12.0Hamburg DolomiteUpper Cambrian  
South Railroad (Trout Creek)   Webb FormationMississippian  
Spruce   Pogonip Gp., Notch Peak Fm.OrdovicianPilot shaleMississippian
Star Pointer98,2073.1~3Rib Hill FormationE. Permian  
Taylor   Joana Ls., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Tug   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Washington Dome   Kaibab Fm.Lower Permian  
West Peqoup   Shafter, Oasis, CandlandUpper CambrianPogonipOrdovician
White Pine20,6540.6 Pilot ShaleMississippian  
Wood Hills South   UndifferentiatedCambrianUndifferentiatedOrdovician
Total13,399,497416.7 Total endowment41,224,081 oz1,282 t 
PropertyProduction oz AuProduction tonnes AuGrade g/t3Primary ore hostHost ageSecondary ore hostHost age
Alligator Ridge660,000  Pilot shaleMississippianGuillmette FormationDevonian
Antelope   Pilot shale/Joana Ls.Mississippian  
Bald Mountain2,541,35679.00.38–2.30Dunderberg, Pogonip, WindfallUpper CambrianPilot, Joana, ChainmanMississippian
Barney’s Canyon/Melco1,835,94057.11.44–2.40Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanianPark CityPermian
Bellview32,0001.0 Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianEldorado DolomiteMiddle Cambrian
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)615,79419.20.52–1.73Oquirrh FormationPennsylvanian  
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Dark Star   Moleen Fm., Tomera Fm.Pennsylvanian  
Drum126,4353.91.23Chisholm, Howell, Tatlow Fms.Middle Cambrian  
Emigrant20,7380.6 Webb FormationMississippian  
Goldrock52,4001.6 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Goldstrike, Utah209,0006.51.2Calville Ls.PennsylvanianClaronEocene
Gollaher   UndifferentiatedPennsylvanianUndifferentiatedPermian
Green Springs87,0002.72.1Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Griffon100,0003.1 Joana/ChainmanMississippian  
Illipah54,0001.7 Pilot/JoanaMississippian  
Jones Creek   Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
KB   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Kinsley138,0004.31.3Secret Canyon shaleMiddle CambrianDunderberg shaleUpper Cambrian
Limousine/Golden Butte43,5191.4 Pilot ShaleMississippianUndifferentiatedDevonian
Long Canyon99,0003.1 Lower PogonipOrdovicianUpper Notch PeakUpper Cambrian
Maverick Springs   Rib Hill FormationPermian  
Mercur/Sunshine Canyon3,565,691110.91.03–6.79Great Blue FormationMississippian  
Mineral Mountain   Claron sandstoneTertiaryCallville limestone 
Pennsylvanian       
Morgan Pass   Pogonip GroupCambrianPogonip GroupOrdovician
North Bullion   Webb-Tripon PassMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)   Ochre Mountain Fm., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Pan21,3160.7 Pilot shaleMississippian  
Pinion   Webb FormationMississippianDevil’s GateUpper Devonian
Pony Creek   Chainman shaleMississippian  
Rain1,327,00041.3 Webb FormationMississippian  
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)   Guillmette Ls., Simonson Dol.Upper Devonian  
Ruby Hill-Archimedes1,403,74743.70.69–4.41Pogonip GroupLower Ordovician  
Sand Pass   Howell, ChisholmMiddle Cambrian  
Sandy   Dunderberg Sh.Middle Cambrian  
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)17,7000.64.11Dunderberg Sh., Hamburg Dol.Upper CambrianSecret Canyon shaleMiddle Cambrian
South Eureka(South Adit)   Dunderberg Sh.Upper Cambrian  
Windfall330,00010.31.0–12.0Hamburg DolomiteUpper Cambrian  
South Railroad (Trout Creek)   Webb FormationMississippian  
Spruce   Pogonip Gp., Notch Peak Fm.OrdovicianPilot shaleMississippian
Star Pointer98,2073.1~3Rib Hill FormationE. Permian  
Taylor   Joana Ls., Chainman Sh.Mississippian  
Tug   Tripon Pass FormationMississippian  
Washington Dome   Kaibab Fm.Lower Permian  
West Peqoup   Shafter, Oasis, CandlandUpper CambrianPogonipOrdovician
White Pine20,6540.6 Pilot ShaleMississippian  
Wood Hills South   UndifferentiatedCambrianUndifferentiatedOrdovician
Total13,399,497416.7 Total endowment41,224,081 oz1,282 t 
PropertyCurrent operatorCommentsSourceType
Alligator RidgeKinross Gold Corporation1993–1995 production; other data merged with Bald Mtn.Muntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
AntelopeLogan ResourcesHistoric, non-43-101 compliant resourceUnpublished Phelps Dodge filesCarlin
Bald MountainKinross/Barrick43-101 compliant, proven/probable, M, I & I as of December 2013Barrick website; S&P Global market intelligenceDistal isseminated
Barney’s Canyon/MelcoKennecott43-101 compliantKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
BellviewAlianza Minerals Ltd.Historic, noncompliant resourceMuntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)Pilot Gold (USA) Inc.Historic noncompliant unclassified, historic productionS&P Global market intelligence; Shaddrick, 2013Carlin
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Dark StarGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant I & I, as of 2017Dufresne and Nicholls, 2017Carlin
DrumPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionKrahulic, 2011Carlin
EmigrantNewmont Mining CorporationUnclassified reserve and production as of 2012Muntean and Davis, 2013; Sabo, 2013Carlin
GoldrockFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, M, I & I, as of June 2014Lane et al., 2014Carlin
Goldstrike, UtahPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionWillden, 2006Carlin
GollaherWest Kirkland Mining Inc.Early-stage prospectWKM websiteCarlin
Green SpringsEly Gold and Minerals Inc.Estimated historic productionS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
GriffonPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionAlta Gold unpublished company reportsCarlin
IllipahAllied Nevada/Tornado GoldEstimated historic productionLaravie, 2012Carlin
Jones CreekJ. RobinsonHistoric, noncompliant resourceJ. Robinson, written commun.Carlin
KBWest KirklandHistoric, noncompliantWest Kirkland websiteCarlin
KinsleyPilot Gold (USA)Historic production, 43-101 compliant I & I resourceGustin et al., 2015Carlin
Limousine/Golden ButteMcEwan Mining Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of December 2013Brown et al., 2009; Muntean and Davis, 2013Distal disseminated
Long CanyonNewmont Mining Corporation43-101 compliant, probable, M, I & I as of December 2016; production from 2016 and 2017 Newmont quarterly reportsNewmont 2016 reservesCarlin
Maverick SpringsAllied Nevada GoldHistoric, noncompliant, I & I as of December 2007; estimated 155 Moz AgS&P Global market intelligence?
Mercur/Sunshine CanyonBarrick Gold CorporationEstimated historic productionKrahulec, 2011Carlin
Mineral MountainPilot Gold (USA) Inc.43-101 compliant inferred, as of 2010; historical noncompliant as of 2016Puchlik, 2010; Gustin and Smith, 2016Carlin
Morgan PassNewmont43-101 compliant, I & I, includes Pod and Sweet HollowS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
North BullionGold Standard Ventures Inc. Gold Standard Ventures, 2017Carlin
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)Desert HawkHistoric, noncompiant, unclassifiedKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
PanFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, P & P and M, I & Ias of June 2014Rowe et al., 2018; Muntean et al., 2017Carlin
PinionGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of 2017Dufresne et al., 2017Carlin
Pony CreekAllied Nevada Gold43-101 compliant, inferred (2004); highly suspect numberBerger et al., 2014Distal disseminated
RainNewmont Mining CorporationHistoricalS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Ruby Hill-ArchimedesBarrick Gold Corporation43-101 compliant, P & P reserve, M, I & I resource as of December 2013S&P Global intelligence; Russell, 2000Carlin
Sand PassBronco CreekHistoric, noncompliantKrahulec, 2011Carlin
SandyPilot Gold (USA) Pilot Gold filesCarlin
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
South Eureka (South Adit)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
WindfallTimberline Resources CorporationEsimated historical underground and open pitBerger et al., 2014Carlin
South Railroad (Trout Creek)Gold Standard Ventures Inc.Historical, noncompliant, unclassifiedGold Standard press release, August 2012Carlin
SpruceRenaissance Gold/Sumitomo Renaissance Gold websiteDistal disseminated
Star PointerKGHM U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Data SystemDistal disseminated
TaylorSilver Predator Silver Predator websiteDistal disseminated
TugWest Kirkland43-101 compliant I & I as of April 2014West Kirkland websiteCarlin
Washington Dome?Historic, noncompliantUtah Geological SurveyCarlin
West PeqoupAgnico Eagle-Newmont43-101 compliant I & I as of July 2010Moran and Davies, 2010Carlin
White Pine?Historic, noncompliantMuntean et al., 2012Carlin
Wood Hills SouthRenaissance Gold/NewmontEarly-stage prospectRenaissance Gold websiteCarlin
PropertyCurrent operatorCommentsSourceType
Alligator RidgeKinross Gold Corporation1993–1995 production; other data merged with Bald Mtn.Muntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
AntelopeLogan ResourcesHistoric, non-43-101 compliant resourceUnpublished Phelps Dodge filesCarlin
Bald MountainKinross/Barrick43-101 compliant, proven/probable, M, I & I as of December 2013Barrick website; S&P Global market intelligenceDistal isseminated
Barney’s Canyon/MelcoKennecott43-101 compliantKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
BellviewAlianza Minerals Ltd.Historic, noncompliant resourceMuntean and Davis, 2013Carlin
Black Pine (Mineral Gulch)Pilot Gold (USA) Inc.Historic noncompliant unclassified, historic productionS&P Global market intelligence; Shaddrick, 2013Carlin
Crown Zone (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Dark StarGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant I & I, as of 2017Dufresne and Nicholls, 2017Carlin
DrumPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionKrahulic, 2011Carlin
EmigrantNewmont Mining CorporationUnclassified reserve and production as of 2012Muntean and Davis, 2013; Sabo, 2013Carlin
GoldrockFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, M, I & I, as of June 2014Lane et al., 2014Carlin
Goldstrike, UtahPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionWillden, 2006Carlin
GollaherWest Kirkland Mining Inc.Early-stage prospectWKM websiteCarlin
Green SpringsEly Gold and Minerals Inc.Estimated historic productionS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
GriffonPilot Gold (USA)Historic productionAlta Gold unpublished company reportsCarlin
IllipahAllied Nevada/Tornado GoldEstimated historic productionLaravie, 2012Carlin
Jones CreekJ. RobinsonHistoric, noncompliant resourceJ. Robinson, written commun.Carlin
KBWest KirklandHistoric, noncompliantWest Kirkland websiteCarlin
KinsleyPilot Gold (USA)Historic production, 43-101 compliant I & I resourceGustin et al., 2015Carlin
Limousine/Golden ButteMcEwan Mining Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of December 2013Brown et al., 2009; Muntean and Davis, 2013Distal disseminated
Long CanyonNewmont Mining Corporation43-101 compliant, probable, M, I & I as of December 2016; production from 2016 and 2017 Newmont quarterly reportsNewmont 2016 reservesCarlin
Maverick SpringsAllied Nevada GoldHistoric, noncompliant, I & I as of December 2007; estimated 155 Moz AgS&P Global market intelligence?
Mercur/Sunshine CanyonBarrick Gold CorporationEstimated historic productionKrahulec, 2011Carlin
Mineral MountainPilot Gold (USA) Inc.43-101 compliant inferred, as of 2010; historical noncompliant as of 2016Puchlik, 2010; Gustin and Smith, 2016Carlin
Morgan PassNewmont43-101 compliant, I & I, includes Pod and Sweet HollowS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
North BullionGold Standard Ventures Inc. Gold Standard Ventures, 2017Carlin
Ochre Springs (Gold Hill)Desert HawkHistoric, noncompiant, unclassifiedKrahulec, 2011Distal disseminated
PanFiore/GRP43-101 compliant, P & P and M, I & Ias of June 2014Rowe et al., 2018; Muntean et al., 2017Carlin
PinionGold Standard Ventures Inc.43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of 2017Dufresne et al., 2017Carlin
Pony CreekAllied Nevada Gold43-101 compliant, inferred (2004); highly suspect numberBerger et al., 2014Distal disseminated
RainNewmont Mining CorporationHistoricalS&P Global market intelligenceCarlin
Road Canyon (Kings Canyon)Pine Cliff EnergyHistoric, noncompliant, unclassified, as of 2011Krahulec, 2011Carlin
Ruby Hill-ArchimedesBarrick Gold Corporation43-101 compliant, P & P reserve, M, I & I resource as of December 2013S&P Global intelligence; Russell, 2000Carlin
Sand PassBronco CreekHistoric, noncompliantKrahulec, 2011Carlin
SandyPilot Gold (USA) Pilot Gold filesCarlin
South Eureka (Lookout Mountain)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
South Eureka (South Adit)Timberline Resources Corporation43-101 compliant, M, I & I as of February 2013Gustin, 2013Carlin
WindfallTimberline Resources CorporationEsimated historical underground and open pitBerger et al., 2014Carlin
South Railroad (Trout Creek)Gold Standard Ventures Inc.Historical, noncompliant, unclassifiedGold Standard press release, August 2012Carlin
SpruceRenaissance Gold/Sumitomo Renaissance Gold websiteDistal disseminated
Star PointerKGHM U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Data SystemDistal disseminated
TaylorSilver Predator Silver Predator websiteDistal disseminated
TugWest Kirkland43-101 compliant I & I as of April 2014West Kirkland websiteCarlin
Washington Dome?Historic, noncompliantUtah Geological SurveyCarlin
West PeqoupAgnico Eagle-Newmont43-101 compliant I & I as of July 2010Moran and Davies, 2010Carlin
White Pine?Historic, noncompliantMuntean et al., 2012Carlin
Wood Hills SouthRenaissance Gold/NewmontEarly-stage prospectRenaissance Gold websiteCarlin

Bold text indicates a deposit or mine discussed in the text

1

Proven, probable (P & P), and possible; whether historic or current is noted in the comments section

2

Measured (M), indicated, and inferred (I & I); type and whether historic or current is noted in the comments section

3

In cases where resource or reserve classification are stated separately in the reference material, more than one grade or a range is given

Contents

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