Abstract

The Burgin shaft is in the Chief Oxide area of the E. Tintic district, Utah, and is about a mile E. of any previously known ore bodies; workings from it are currently developing a substantial amount of commercial Pb-Zn ore in several blind ore bodies that lie in folded Paleozoic carbonate rock concealed beneath a blanket of Eocene lava. This area was mapped by Tower and Smith of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1897 and again by Lindgren and Loughlin in 1911, but no detailed work was done until after 1943 when a field party headed by T.S. Lovering began a study of the entire E. Tintic district. The history of the development of exploration concepts is summarized under Historical Summary. The E. Tintic mining district is in the E.-central part of a N.-trending fault-block mountain range near the eastern margin of the Great Basin; dominant structures of the range are a N.-trending syncline on the W. and a less well exposed anticline on the E. Both folds are cut by an intersecting system of transcurrent strike-slip faults and by minor thrust faults and normal faults of moderate displacement. A strong W.-dipping thrust fault cuts the anticline a short distance E. of the fold axis, but is hidden by Eocene lava throughout the E. Tintic district. The pre-Tertiary rocks range from Lower Cambrian to Upper Mississippian and exceed 7,000 ft. in total thickness; they are dominantly marine limestone and dolomite except for a thick basal Cambrian quartzite. The Tertiary rocks are chiefly dacitic lavas and pyroclastic deposits that are intruded by moderately persistent dikes and irregular bodies of monzonite and quartz porphyry. Nearly all the faulting and folding took place before the extrusion of the lavas on a rugged Eocene erosion surface. At about the time of the intrusion of monzonitic magma, many of the faults in the Paleozoic rock were re-opened and in the overlying lava some fracturing took place which was later accented by hydrothermal alteration. Most of the ore mined in the E. Tintic district has come from Pb-Zn-Ag replacement bodies in shattered Jasperoidized hydrothermal dolomite at the intersection of low angle faults and steep mineralized NE.-trending cross fractures. The U.S. Geological Survey studies of 1943 to 1957 concentrated on detailed mapping of geology and alteration in the E. Tintic district, together with field and laboratory studies of the relation of alteration to stages of mineralization and ore deposition. Trenching and core drilling were carried on after World War II to aid in interpreting the subrhyolite geology, and the Chief Oxide area was 1 of 4 localities tested by drilling. Study of the fossils, lithology, and alteration shown here in a deep drill core, together with the knowledge of the regional geology, led to an essentially correct interpretation of subrhyolite structure in the strongly discordant underlying Paleozoic rocks in which a mineralized tear fault cuts a strong thrust fault, and to the conclusion that ore stage mineralization was present in substantial amounts in the Paleozoic rocks below the Chief Oxide alteration patch in the quartz latite lava. Subsequent geothermal and geochemical work strengthened this conclusion, and the recent development work of the Bear Creek Mining Company, which sank the Burgin shaft, has shown the presence of Pb-Zn-Ag ore of commercial grade in substantial amount in blind ore bodies below the lava blanket in the Chief Oxide area.

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