High-level epithermal gold-bearing quartz veins are interpreted as hot-spring deposits remobilized from pyritic gold-copper-silver-bearing chert of volcanogenic-exhalative origin in the Precambrian Hell Canyon greenstone belt of central New Mexico. The gold-quartz veins probably were emplaced in the late Cenozoic during extensional faulting and high heat flow associated with development of the adjacent Rio Grande rift. These concepts have important implications for mineral exploration. Regional exploration focusing on greenstone terranes cut by rift-bounding faults with fossil and/or current hot-spring activity could lead to discovery of additional epithermal gold-quartz deposits.

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