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Abstract

The Marigold Au deposits are located in the Battle Mountain mining district at the northern end of Nevada’s Battle Mountain-Eureka trend. The Marigold deposits currently make up the second largest Au accumulation in the district with over 320 tonnes (10.35 Moz) of Au in oxidized rock in a N-trending series of mineralized zones approximately 7.5 km long. Ore is hosted primarily in oxidized Paleozoic siliciclastic rocks between the Roberts Mountain and Golconda thrusts. Most of the ore occurs in quartzite of the Ordovician Valmy Formation. Higher grades but lower tonnages of ore are present in the overlying Pennsylvanian-Permian Antler sequence, including the Battle Formation conglomerate, the Antler Peak Limestone, and debris flows and siltstone of the Edna Mountain Formation. Sedimentary rocks at Marigold are crosscut by a series of WNW- to N-striking quartz monzonite dikes (zircon U-Pb chemical abrasion-thermal ionization mass spectrometry ages 97.63 ± 0.05–92.22 ± 0.05 Ma) and a lamprophyre (biotite 40Ar/39Ar age 160.7 ± 0.1 Ma).

Marigold displays many classic Carlin-type characteristics although the deposits are predominantly hosted in relatively unreactive, carbonate-poor siliciclastic rocks. Sulfidation, minor silicification, and possibly pyritization occurred in association with Au mineralization in quartzite and argillite. Chemically reactive but volumetrically minor carbonate rocks also display these alteration styles as well as significant decarbonatization. Argillic alteration occurred proximal to faults in mudstone and siltstone and at the margins of intrusions. Gold, As, Sb, and Tl are enriched along high-angle structures and structural intersections in the sedimentary host rocks and in faulted dike margins. Gold is present in Au-, As-, and Sb-rich pyrite overgrowths on pre-gold stage trace element-poor pyrite grains. Oxidation extends to depths of 150 to 500 m below surface, and above the redox boundary Au is present natively with iron oxides in voids and fractures. In the cores and margins of the Cretaceous dikes and fault zones, a distinct geochemical association of base metal and Ag minerals is identifiable, characterized by Ag-bearing tetrahedrite-tennantite, chalcopyrite, gersdorffite, pyrite, sphalerite, stannite, and galena.

Sericite 40Ar/39Ar ages of 88.0 ± 0.46 and 79.59 ± 0.16 Ma indicate that hydrothermal alteration occurred along the dike margins at least 4 m.y. after emplacement. On the basis of similarities to other deposits in the district, the base metal and Ag mineralization may have occurred at this time. The Au mineralization occurred sometime after the base metal and Ag event, possibly in conjunction with the Eocene magmatism that occurred elsewhere in the district, although this study found no definitive evidence for a magmatic-hydrothermal origin of the Au.

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