Abstract

An exact solution of three-dimensional theory of elasticity in an infinite elastic rock medium around magma reservoirs of various aspect ratios and the criteria of rock fracturing provide an important tool for the interpretation of the origin and nature of distribution of many ore-bearing fracture systems around magmatic bodies in the world. Theoretical analyses suggest the conditions and regions of formation of (1) dominant radial fractures, (2) dominant concentric fractures or combination of radial and concentric fractures, and (3) central subsidence (or graben) in domal uplift related to intrusions of magma bodies of various shapes and sizes. The relations of these fracture systems to the deposition of ore-bearing fluids are discussed in the light of excess magma and hydrothermal fluid pressures. Caldera subsidence and dominant concentric fractures, such as in the San Juan Mountains mining district in Colorado, are, according to our analyses and interpretations, related to intrusion(s) of vertically elongated magma cupolas and high magma and hydrothermal fluid pressures. This differs from Anderson's original contention (1936) that caldera subsidence and outward-dipping ring fractures are due to lower relative magma pressure than lithostatic pressure. Wedging action of magma immediately above a vertically elongated prolate magma body is suggested as a cause of central graben bounded by funnel-shaped normal faults over wide domal uplift. Displacement along normal faults causes underground subsidence above magma cupolas. Extension of such faults close to the surface and displacement along them can produce surface caldera subsidence. Vein-type deposits commonly associated with funnel-shaped felsic (rhyolitic) bodies may be related to near-surface caldera subsidence. The origin of arcuate zones of breccia pipes such as in Silverton cauldron, Colorado, appears to be related to axial symmetric stress condition(s) due to vertically elongated magma body at depth.Estimation of stress distribution around spheroidal and prolate magma bodies suggests development of possible zonal distribution of fractures from the periphery of the magma outward in the order of (1) continuous tension fracture zone, (2) brittle fault zone, (3) ductile fault zone followed by no fault zone. Brittle fault and continuous tension fracture zones provide excellent sites for ore mineral localization. The zonal distribution of fractures also suggests, in a general way, mode of origin and possible extent of distribution of various fracture types, hydrothermal zoning, and their alterations.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.