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Biogeochemical exploration using the Thola shrub in the Andean Altiplano, Bolivia

M. Viladevall, D. Puigserver, J. Saavedra and J. M. Carmona
Biogeochemical exploration using the Thola shrub in the Andean Altiplano, Bolivia
Geochemistry - Exploration, Environment, Analysis (February 2012) 12 (1): 33-44


This study concerns the implementation of the most suitable geochemical prospecting methodology to explore for gold deposits in the Andean Altiplano, Bolivia. The main gold ore deposits in this area are associated with the 'saddle reef antimony-gold type' in low-grade metamorphic Ordovician-Silurian siliciclastic rocks, placer gold deposits of Miocene age and epithermal gold deposits related to acid volcanic rocks of Tertiary age. An orientation biogeochemical survey was carried out over these deposits by analysing a common plant (Thola shrub) for Au, Sb and pathfinder elements. Thola is widespread and abundant in this semi-arid highland terrain and includes different families such as Compositae (Baccharis incarum/B. tola) and Solanaceae (Fabiana densa) with deep roots (>5 m) that are able to penetrate allochthonous rocks (acid tuffs) and mineralized zones. This orientation survey shows strong anomalies in gold and antimony over saddle reef antimony-gold deposits and anomalies over placer gold deposits where the bottom of the placer is exposed. High concentrations of Au and pathfinder elements were obtained in transects across acid volcanic rocks in the vicinity of abandoned mines. The Thola shrub therefore has the potential to be an excellent exploration medium throughout an area of 140 000 km (super 2) in the Bolivian Altiplano.

ISSN: 1467-7873
EISSN: 2041-4943
Serial Title: Geochemistry - Exploration, Environment, Analysis
Serial Volume: 12
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Biogeochemical exploration using the Thola shrub in the Andean Altiplano, Bolivia
Affiliation: Universitat de Barcelona, Departamento de Geoquimica, Petrologi y Prospeccion Geologica, Barcelona, Spain
Pages: 33-44
Published: 201202
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society Publishing House, London, United Kingdom
References: 33
Accession Number: 2012-035850
Categories: General geochemistryEconomic geology, geology of ore deposits
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables, geol. sketch maps
S18°00'00" - S17°49'60", W67°10'00" - W67°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Instituto de Recursos Naturals y Agrobiologia, ESP, Spain
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 201219
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