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Characteristics of some silver-, and base metal-bearing, epithermal deposits of Mexico and Peru

January 1, 1984


Lithotectonic, mineralogical, and geochemical data on two silver- and base metal-bearing deposits from Peru and two from Mexico are compiled to facilitate comparisons with other epithermal deposits. Silver and base metal-bearing deposits of Mexico and Peru constitute an important portion of the world silver production derived from shallow, vein-type deposits hosted in volcanic rocks. Although these deposits are generally similar to epithermal deposits of Nevada and Colorado in the western United States, they have some important differences. Because of this, data on the geological attributes of these deposits are very useful for developing models of ore formation that can be used in mineral exploration. The data collected for this compilation are presented in the following pages in summaries of the important characteristics of each deposit. This compilation, which shows the complexities in the geology of epithermal ore deposits in Mexico and Peru, serves as a basis for further comparisons among epithermal deposits throughout the world. The case studies provide data useful to geologists and exploration!'sts interested in developing models of ore formation to be used in exploration for mineral deposits of this type. The deposits described in this report are the Guanajuato district of Guanajuato, Mexico, the Pachuca-Real del Monte district of Hidalgo, Mexico, the Colqui district of Lima, Peru, and the Julcani district of Huancavelica, Peru.

Although many characteristics of the geology and geochemistry of this type of deposit were considered, the most important criterion for choosing these deposits was that they have substantial quantities of precious- and base-metal mineralization. Additional criteria for selecting the deposits were that they be hosted primarily by calc-alkaline volcanic rocks of intermediate to silicic composition and that they be younger than Tertiary in age. Many deposits in Mexico and Peru and other parts of Central and South America were excluded because the literature describing the districts is not readily available. Furthermore, many districts have not been examined in detail or the information available is of limited geological scope. The four districts that are compiled in this report were chosen because they are described in abundant literature dating from early mining reports on the general geology and mineralogy to very recent data on detailed geochemical and mineralogical studies. They were chosen as being fairly typical, classic examples of near-surface, low-temperature vein deposits as described by Lindgren (1928) in his treatise on ore deposits (Mineral deposits, McGraw-Hill, 1049 p.). These deposits are similar in aspects of their geology and geochemistry to many of the famous, epithermal silver mining districts in Colorado and Nevada including Creede, Colorado, Tonapah, Nevada, and the Sunnyside Mine of the Eureka district, Colorado, and, in the special case of Julcani, to Summitville, Colorado, and Goldfield, Nevada. The characteristics that distinguish them include overall size, production and alteration assemblage. The information documented in each summary will be used in a forthcoming series of papers on the comparative anatomy of precious and base metal deposits in North and South America.

Publication Year 1984
Title Characteristics of some silver-, and base metal-bearing, epithermal deposits of Mexico and Peru
DOI 10.3133/ofr84633
Authors Nora K. Foley
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 84-633
Index ID ofr84633
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center