Oreshoot Zoning in the Carlin-Type Betze Orebody, Goldstrike Mine, Eureka County, Nevada
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC
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Field and laboratory investigations of the giant Betze gold orebody, the largest Carlin-type deposit known, in the north-central Carlin trend, Nevada document that the orebody is composed of individual high-grade oreshoots that contain different geologic, mineralogic, and textural characteristics. The orebody is typical of many structurally controlled Carlin-type deposits, and is hosted in thin-bedded, impure carbonate or limy siltstone, breccia bodies, and intrusive or calc-silicate rock. Most ores in the Betze orebody are highly sheared or brecciated and show evidence of syndeformational hydrothermal deposition. The interplay between rock types and pre- and syn-structural events accounts for most of the distribution and zoning of the oreshoots. Hydrothermal alteration is scale dependent, either in broad, pervasive alteration patterns, or in areas related to various oreshoots. Alteration includes decarbonatization decalcification of carbonate units, argillization illite-clay, and silicification. Patterns of alteration zoning in and surrounding the Betze orebody define a large porous, dilated volume of rock where high fluid flow predominated. Local restriction of alteration to narrow illite- and clay-rich selvages around unaltered marble or calc-silicate rock phacoids implies that fluid flow favored permeable structures and deformed zones. Gold mainly is present as disseminated sub-micron-sized particles, commonly associated with As-rich pyrite, although one type of oreshoot contains micron-size free gold.
- Mining Engineering