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Sediment-hosted copper deposits of the world: Deposit models and database

May 1, 2003


This publication contains four descriptive models and four grade-tonnage models for sediment hosted copper deposits. Descriptive models are useful in exploration planning and resource assessment because they enable the user to identify deposits in the field and to identify areas on geologic and geophysical maps where deposits could occur. Grade and tonnage models are used in resource assessment to predict the likelihood of different combinations of grades and tonnages that could occur in undiscovered deposits in a specific area. They are also useful in exploration in deciding what deposit types meet the economic objectives of the exploration company. The models in this report supersede the sediment-hosted copper models in USGS Bulletin 1693 (Cox, 1986, and Mosier and others, 1986) and are subdivided into a general type and three subtypes. The general model is useful in classifying deposits whose features are obscured by metamorphism or are otherwise poorly described, and for assessing regions in which the geologic environments are poorly understood. The three subtypes are based on differences in deposit form and environments of deposition. These differences are described under subtypes in the general model.

Deposit models are based on the descriptions of geologic environments and physical characteristics, and on metal grades and tonnages of many individual deposits. Data used in this study are presented in a database representing 785 deposits in nine continents. This database was derived partly from data published by Kirkham and others (1994) and from new information in recent publications. To facilitate the construction of grade and tonnage models, the information, presented by Kirkham in disaggregated form, was brought together to provide a single grade and a single tonnage for each deposit. Throughout the report individual deposits are defined as being more than 2,000 meters from the nearest adjacent deposit.

The deposit models are presented here as a PDF file. The database can be most conveniently read in FileMaker Pro. For those who do not have the FileMaker application, Microsoft-Excel, tab-delimited-ASCII and comma-separated-value files are included. The reader may be interested in a similar publication on porphyry copper deposits (Singer and others, 2005) also available online.

The Google Earth image is not intended to be viewed at the highest possible magnification because the resolution of the database is plus or minus two kilometers. At extreme zoom settings, the deposit locations may not coincide with the Google-Earth images of the mine workings.

Publication Year 2003
Title Sediment-hosted copper deposits of the world: Deposit models and database
DOI 10.3133/ofr2003107
Authors Dennis P. Cox, David A. Lindsey, Donald A. Singer, Barry C. Moring, Michael F. Diggles
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2003-107
Index ID ofr2003107
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Mineral Resources