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Geology, petrochemistry, and time-space evolution of the Cripple Creek District, Colorado

Eric P. Jensen and Mark D. Barton
Geology, petrochemistry, and time-space evolution of the Cripple Creek District, Colorado (in Roaming the Rocky Mountains and environs; geological field trips, Robert G. Raynolds (editor))
Field Guide (Geological Society of America) (2008) 10: 63-78


The Cripple Creek district is renowned for epithermal gold telluride veins which have produced over 22 million ounces of gold from an intensely altered diatreme complex (total production+economic resources of >1000 tons). The district is also renowned for its association with a rare class of alkaline igneous rocks. The volcanism at Cripple Creek was part of a regionally extensive episode of Oligocene magmatism. including large volumes of calc-alkaline rocks and smaller, but widely distributed alkaline centers. Amongst the mid-Tertiary alkaline intrusive complexes, only Cripple Creek is associated with a giant (>500 ton) gold deposit. Further study of the magmatic and hydrothermal evolution of these systems will be necessary to explain this apparent disparity in gold enrichment. Cripple Creek's gold mineralization principally occurs as telluride minerals hosted by swarms of narrow veins. Most geological studies over the last century have focused on the high-grade veins and to a lesser degree, adjacent hydrothermal alteration, but metasomatism is now shown to be broadly developed and demonstrably accompanied many events throughout the evolution of the igneous complex. Alteration types ranged from minor early pyroxene-stable varieties through various biotite-bearing assemblages into voluminous K-feldspar stable types. Hydrolytic (acid) styles of alteration are present but minor. Economic gold mineralization is intimately associated only with late, voluminous K-feldspar-pyrite alteration which affected >5 km (super 3) of the explored portion (upper 1 km) of the complex. Although similar to other gold deposits related to alkaline magmatism. Cripple Creek differs markedly from other epithermal systems in terms of its large volume of K-feldspar added and paucity of quartz and acid alteration.

ISSN: 2333-0937
EISSN: 2333-0945
Serial Title: Field Guide (Geological Society of America)
Serial Volume: 10
Title: Geology, petrochemistry, and time-space evolution of the Cripple Creek District, Colorado
Title: Roaming the Rocky Mountains and environs; geological field trips
Author(s): Jensen, Eric P.Barton, Mark D.
Author(s): Raynolds, Robert G.editor
Affiliation: University of Arizona, Department of Geosciences, Tucson, AZ, United States
Affiliation: Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver, CO, United States
Pages: 63-78
Published: 2008
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-0010-6
References: 57
Accession Number: 2009-022136
Categories: Economic geology, geology of ore deposits
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch maps
N38°43'60" - N38°43'60", W105°10'60" - W105°10'60"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 200913
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