At the request of the U.S. Bureau of land Management, 83,100 acres of the Antelope Wilderness Study Area (NV-4)60-231/241) was studied. In this report the studied area is called the 'wilderness study area', or simply the 'study area.' No identified mineral or energy resources occur within the study area. The southern part of the area has moderate mineral resource potential for undiscovered gold and silver, and the Woodruff Formation in the southern part of the area has high resource potential for undiscovered vanadium, zinc, selenium, molybdenum, and silver (fig. 1). This assessment is based on field geochemical studies in 1984 and 1985 by the U.S. Bureau of Mines and field geochemical studies and geologic mapping by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1984 and 1985. The remainder of the study area has low resource potential for undiscovered gold, silver, lead, zinc, manganese, tin, and molybdenum. The study area also has low resource potential for undiscovered oil and gas resources.
The Antelope Wilderness Study Area is about midway between Tonopah and Eureka, Nev., in the northern Hot Creek Range and southern Antelope Range of central Nevada. It is accessible by unimproved dirt roads extending 20 mi (miles) north from U.S. Highway 6 and 40 mi south from U.S. Highway 50 (fig. 2). Most of the study area consists of rugged mountainous terrain having approximately 2,600 ft (feet) of relief. The mountain range is a block tilted gently to the east and bounded on both sides by normal faults that dip steeply to moderately west and have major displacements. Most of the study area is underlain by a thick sequence of Tertiary volcanic rocks that predominantly consist of silicic ash-flow tuff, the Windous Butte Formation. Paleozoic and lower Mesozoic (see geologic time chart in appendix) marine sediments occur along the southern margin of the study area, and lower Paleozoic rocks are exposed in the northeast corner.
The areas of exposed Paleozoic-Mesozoic rocks along the southern margin of the study area have moderate mineral resource potential for gold and silver in sediment-hosted, disseminated, epithermal (low-temperature) gold-silver deposits (fig. 1). These rocks consist of folded and thrust-faulted, fine-grained clastic sediments and limestone and dolomite that locally have been brecciated and hydrothermally altered. The alteration (locally, strong silicification) and geochemical associations of these rocks indicate a favorable environment for such deposits. Exploration for disseminated gold deposits in the same geologic environment is currently being conducted just south of the study area. The remainder of the study area has low resource potential for epithermal gold and silver vein deposits in the Tertiary volcanic rocks. The Cenozoic sedimentary basins adjacent to the fault-bounded mountain block have moderate potential for petroleum resources; the study area itself has low potential for petroleum resources.