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Structural Openings and the Localization of Ore Bodies

Eric P. Nelson1, Leandro Echavarria1, and Jonathan Saul Caine2


1 2

Dept. of Geology/Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado

Abstract Structural openings form in rocks by brittle, dilatant deformation over numerous scales and many types of ore deposits are localized by the flow of hydrothermal fluids through such openings in structurally permeable rocks. Structural permeability refers to transient enhancement of fluid flux through strain-related openings. The distribution, geometry, density, and orientation of ore bodies in structural openings are controlled by two primary factors: the far and near field stresses (i.e., the far stress field is not always what produces structures in the near field) and the mechanical properties of rock. Other driving forces include localized changes in stress related to fluid pressure and heat transfer within a deforming rock mass. We discuss how stress and internal mechanical properties control the formation of structural openings, and present a classification of geological structures that host ore bodies as a result of the interactions between stress, strain, fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical reaction. When stress controls the orientation and kinematics of faults and fractures in the absence of pre-existing weaknesses, permeability anisotropy can develop with kmax parallel to the intermediate principal stress direction (2). In this case ore shoot orientation is perpendicular to the fault slip vector and can be predicted by kinematic analysis. Such ore shoots form due to non-planar fault geometry where the orientation of the fault zone approaches parallelism with the plane containing 1-2. However, when structural openings form along pre-existing weaknesses, ore shoot orientation cannot always be predicted by kinematic analysis. Variations in mechanical properties of rock undergoing deformation cause variations in rheological response due to lithological changes, temperature gradients, and pre-existing weaknesses such as faults, joints, and bedding. to be refracted from their initial path. For example, brittle layers preferentially develop vein arrays and boudin necks, and can cause developing structures that transect them Fluid pressure variations also can affect rheological behavior and promote brittle failure, but are not easily identified or mapped. The principal geologic structures that host ore bodies include fault and shear zones, joints and

joint arrays, structural intersections, folds, strain shadows, igneous-related structures, and collapse structures. Further, the geometry of these principal structures can range from linear to planar to irregular, and can include en echelon, conjugate, intersecting, and stockwork geometries. Because we can classify ore bodies based on the types of geological structures discussed above and the variations that naturally occur from material property heterogeneity, exploration for hydrothermal ore deposits should include analysis of geologic structure and evolution, rheological variations, pre-existing weakness, and fault kinematics to evaluate structural controls on localization of ore bodies. Introduction The knowledge that geological structures host metal deposits is very old, and dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks (Agricola, 1556). This knowledge has aided mineral exploration for many years in a general sense and, as Guilbert & Park (1986) noted, Detailed studies of structure are essential in exploration, and they unquestionably have led to more discoveries of ore than any other approach. Structural openings formed from crustal deformation control hydrothermal fluid flow during and after deformation coupled with mineralization, and thus can control the location, geometry and orientation of many ore deposits. Structural openings form in rocks by brittle, dilatant deformation over numerous scales and many types of ore deposits are localized by the flow of hydrothermal fluids through such openings in structurally permeable rocks. The distribution, geometry, density, and orientation of ore bodies in structural openings are controlled by two primary factors: the far and near field stresses and the mechanical properties of rock. Other driving forces include localized changes in stress related to fluid pressure and heat transfer within a deforming rock mass. Examples of structurally controlled upper crustal ore deposits are epithermal precious metal and polymetallic vein systems and porphyry systems (Cu Au, Mo) (McKinstry, 1955; Richards & Tosdal, 2001). Examples of structurally controlled deposits formed at deeper crustal levels include the mesothermal (or orogenic) shear-hosted deposits typical of the Archean cratons, such as those in the Abitibi belt, Canada (Robert & Poulsen, 1997) and in the Kalgoorlie district, Western Australia (Solomon & Groves, 2000), and the Bendigo saddle reef deposit in Victoria, Australia (Cox et al., 1991). Common expressions of ore in structural openings are veins and breccias. Veins are mineral-filled fractures, and breccias are fractured rock in which fracturebounded blocks have rotated. The geometry of veins can range from linear to planar to irregular, and can include en echelon, conjugate, intersecting, and stockwork geometries.

Breccias also can have a wide range of geometries, but linear and tabular geometries are most common. Because structural openings are important in the formation of many ore deposits, especially in Cordilleran-type deposits formed in the upper crust, we review and focus this paper on how stress and the mechanical properties of rock control the formation of structural openings, and how structural openings localize hydrothermal ore deposits. Because past classifications of veins and other structural openings contain many old terms and ambiguous mixtures of categories, we propose a new working classification of structural openings that is based on specific geologic structures that can be linked to stress and rock properties. We hope our proposal will lead to a more comprehensive and useful classification system. Lastly, we briefly discuss structural methods that can aid the explorationist in predicting the location and orientation of ore shoots formed in structural openings. Structural Permeability Structural permeability refers to transient enhancement of fluid flux through strain-related openings (Sibson, 1996). Such permeability is paramount in the development of many ore deposits that are produced by focused flow of relatively large volumes of hydrothermal fluids. Structural permeability typically forms in the upper, brittle crust where macroscopic fault and fracture systems are common, but also can form in the more ductile deeper crust in hydraulic fracture arrays, if fluid pressures are high enough. Fluid flow in faults and shear zones is localized in areas of highest fracture aperture and fracture density, including breccia zones, and commonly form in core and damage zones associated with fault jogs, bends, and splays (see fig. 1; Cox et al., 2001). Fluid flow in folded sequences may be concentrated in hinge zones, as illustrated by the saddle reef veins in the Bendigo gold fields, Victoria, Australia (fig. 2).
Figure 1. Geometry of contractional and dilatant jogs (a) and contractional and dilational splays at fault tips (b). Modified from Cox et al. (2001).

Mineralization related to hydrothermal fluid flow occurs by mineral precipitation in structural openings and/or by replacement in wall rocks adjacent to structural openings. Veins, or mineral filled cracks, and most breccias represent the physical evidence of past hydrothermal fluid flow in rocks. Because mineral filling of fractures can be rapid relative to the life span of hydrothermal systems, sustained
Figure 2. Schematic cross section representing goldquartz vein systems associated with upright fold structures in the Victoria gold fields, Australia (modified from Cox et al., 1991).

fluid flow occurs only in active structures where permeability is repeatedly renewed or held open by the local stress field

(Sibson et al., 1975; Cox et al., 2001). Repeated fracturing may occur with fluctuations in fluid pressure related to seismic cycles along faults and shear zones (Sibson, 2001) or from fluctuations in fluid pressure related to crystallization and venting of magma chambers. Sibson (2001) has shown that cyclic accumulation and release of shear stress on seismogenic structures leads to significant fluid redistribution during both coseismic and aftershock phases. Magmatic fluid pressure fluctuations have been interpreted from unidirectional solidification textures (Shannon et al., 1982), from fluid inclusion studies (e.g., Graney & Kessler, 1986), and are inferred from banded vein textures (fig. 3) in volcanic-hosted vein deposits which typically form above buried, episodically-venting plutons. Stress controls on structural openings The localization, geometry, and orientation of structural openings are strongly influenced by the orientations and relative magnitudes of mechanical stresses in hydrothermal systems. These stresses may be far-field stresses (regional scale) or near-field stresses (district, mine, or mesoscopic scale). The far-field stress is not always what produces structures in the near field. For example, regional stress fields may be locally rotated by the effects of non-planar faults, proximity to intrusive bodies, bedding rotation on fold limbs, etc. The types of fractures that form in hydrothermal systems can be controlled by the magnitude of the differential stress (1-3) and by the effect of fluid pressure (fig. 4). Fluid pressure reduces the normal stress on planes and thus acts to promote sliding and opening of fractures. This is

Figure 3. Examples of banded veins in epithermal deposits. A. Martha Hill gold deposit, New Zealand; B. Martha Hill deposit, lens cap for scale lower center; C. Ares deposit, Per; D. Caylloma deposit, Per.

illustrated by a negative shift of the state-of-stress circle on a Mohr diagram towards tangency with the Mohr-Coulomb failure envelop. In isotropic homogeneous rock, stress controls the orientation and type of fractures formed during brittle deformation, and three classes of macroscopic fractures may form (fig. 4; Sibson, 2001, Cox et al., 2001). A high differential stress leads to formation of shear fractures, an intermediate differential stress leads to formation of hybrid extension-shear fractures, and a low differential stress leads to formation of extension fractures. However, as shown by Sibson (2001), two or three of these fracture types typically form together in some form of fault-fracture mesh (fig. 5). In fact, many faults contain veins, and thus have a component of opening strain locally. Such veins can be considered fault veins and can be recognized either by their presence in faults, or by slickenlines on the vein margin. Typically, fault veins form along faults where the orientation (strike and dip) of the fault locally approaches the 1-2 plane, such as along dilational fault jogs and horsetail splays, or wing cracks (fig. 1).

Figure 4. Mohr diagram showing three possible states of stress leading to extensional fractures (ext.), hybrid extensionalshear fractures (e-s.), and shear fractures (sh.). Orientation relative to principal stress axes of conjugate sets of shear and hybrid fractures, and of extensional fractures is shown to the right (modified from Cox et al., 2001 & Sibson, 2001).

Pure extension fractures may be recognized if crystal fibers filling veins are perpendicular to the vein wall. Not all veins have fibrous crystals however. Pure extension fractures may also be inferred if they bear an angular relationship (generally between 30-45) to a mechanically related fault as predicted by the Riedel model (fig. 6, 7a; Wilcox et al., 1973; Davis & Reynolds, 1996, p.367). Hybrid fractures may be recognized if crystal fibers filling veins are oblique to the vein wall (fig. 7b). En echelon vein arrays are also a form of hybrid fractures as individual veins in the array are extension fractures, but these usually form in a zone of shear (figs. 7d, 8).

Figure 5. A. Vein mesh consisting of conjugate en echelon quartz veins and faults (lower right), near Banff, Canada. 1 approximately horizontal. B. Types of stress-controlled vein meshes in relation to triaxial stress field. Faults have shear couple arrows, extension and hybrid extension-shear fractures have hatched, stylolites are horizontal wiggly lines. From Sibson (2001).

Shear fractures are essentially faults or small-displacement faults (Marshak et al., 1982) and can be recognized by displacement across the fault or by slickenlines on the fault surface, or because they are oriented in a manner that is mechanically compatible with the master fault

zone (Sibson, 1994; Caine & Forster, 1999). Note, however, that slickenlines on fault veins may form during a post-mineralization stress field unrelated to the stress field active during mineralization. Stress, and can therefore also structural the as openings, dikes, control as well

emplacement of igneous plutons, and sills, associated veins. On a relatively

large scale, stress may control the location and orientation of plutons along 2001). fault jogs, bends, and intersections (Tosdal & Richards, Such plutons ultimately become the hosts for porphyry-style mineralization, and also are the
Figure 6. Riedel model of subsidiary fractures associated with sinistral shear zone. T = extension fracture, R, R, and P are shear fractures. Modified from Davis & Reynolds (1996).

source

of

hydrothermal

fluids

required for formation of associated

vein systems.

Examples include the structurally-controlled porphyry systems, such as

Chuquimata in Chile (Ossandon et al., 2001) and some of the Arizona copper porphyries (Rehrig & Hendrick, 1972; Hayes & Titley, 1980; Hendrick & Titley, 1982). On a smaller scale (deposit scale), stress may control the orientation of stockwork vein systems that comprise porphyry mineralized deposits (fig. 7c). In some cases veins have a preferred orientation related to the regional or far field stress. Examples include many of the Arizona porphyries such as Morenci, Silver Bell, Ajo, and those in the Superior-Globe-Miami district (Hendrick & Titley, 1982). In other cases, radial and concentric veins form in an intrusion-centered, centroExamples include San Juan copper porphyry deposit (Safford district), symmetric pattern.

Arizona (fig. 9; Hendrick & Titley, 1982), and the Henderson Mo-porphyry deposit, Colorado (Coe, 1995; Coe & Nelson, 1997). Another example of structural control on magma emplacement comes from the Voiseys Bay magmatic Ni-Cu-Co sulfide deposit in Labrador in which mineralization occurred along structures that focused magmatic flow (Evans-Lamswood, 2000). In this deposit ore sulfides are preferentially concentrated in traps where physical irregularities and changes in magma conduit morphology favored the precipitation, capture, and preservation of sulfides as a result of changes in the velocity and viscosity of the magma.

Figure 7. Vein types and features. A. en echelon extension veins formed along margin of normal fault, New Zealand; B. quartz crystal fibers oblique to vein wall in en echelon hybrid shear-extension vein array, Ireland; C. calcite-iron oxide veins in stockwork, Silver Bell mine, Arizona; D. en echelon quartz vein array cutting older quartz vein, Tierra del Fuego, Chile; E. extension veins formed in dilational fault jog along sinistral fault-vein, New Zealand.

When stress controls the orientation and kinematics of faults and fractures in the absence of pre-existing weaknesses, permeability anisotropy can develop with the direction of maximum permeability (kmax) parallel to the intermediate principal stress direction (2) (fig. 10, 11; Sibson, 2001). In this case ore shoot orientation is perpendicular to the fault slip vector and can be predicted by kinematic analysis. Such ore shoots form due to non-planar fault geometry where the orientation of the fault plane approaches parallelism with the plane containing 1-2. An example comes from the Arcata volcanic-hosted epithermal Ag-Au vein system in Per. This vein system formed in normal faults, and slickenline data were used by Echavarria & Nelson (2002) to model the principal stress directions and to show that the slip line is essentially perpendicular to the ore shoot (fig. 10, 12).

Figure 8. Geometry and features of en echelon vein arrays. Note slickenlines may form on individual vein walls through book-shelf sliding, and offset of individual veins is opposite that of the overall array.

When structural openings form along pre-existing weaknesses or due to fault undulations unrelated to the stress field (fig. 13), ore shoot orientation cannot always be predicted by kinematic analysis. In this case, the orientation of the ore shoot is controlled by the orientation of pre-existing undulations on the fault surface, and not by the orientation of the slip line.

Figure 9. San Juan mine area, Safford district, Arizona illustrating a centrosymmetric pattern of mineralized veins surrounding the San Juan pluton (modified from Hendrick & Titley, 1982).

Figure 10. Geometry of stress-controlled plumbing conduits relative to fault slip line (shown by shear couple arrows) and principal stress axes. Curved arrows illustrate path of hydrothermal fluids.

Figure 11. En echelon vein array illustrating kinematic control on ore shoot rake. Slip line indicated by shear couple arrows. Note that the long axis of the ore shoot (parallel to 2) is perpendicular to the slip line.

Rheological controls on structural openings Rock rheology is a critical control on where some structural openings develop. Rock rheology is affected by the bulk composition of rocks, by the inherent structural weaknesses in rocks (bedding, cleavage and foliation, and pre-existing fractures and faults), and is also affected by temperature and confining pressure conditions at the time of mineralization. Fluid pressure variations also can affect rheological behavior and promote brittle failure, but are not easily identified or mapped.

Figure 12. A. Lower hemisphere equal area nets showing vein and slickenline data from Arcata system, modeled and contoured tension (T) and compression (P) axes, and summary of modeled stress axes (1=1, 2=2, and 3=3). B. Longitudinal profile of Baja vein in the Arcata vein system, Per, showing orientation of slip line and long axis of ore shoot. From Echavarria & Nelson (2002), Echavarria et al. (2003). Figure 13. Formation of ore shoots along pre-existing undulations on fault plane. A. Undulations on fault plane before displacement; B. Ore shoot formation along undulations after fault displacement. Fault slip line (slickenlines) is not perpendicular to ore shoot, and ore shoot orientation cannot be predicted by kinematic analysis of fault. Modified from Guilbert & Park (1986).

Variations

in

mechanical

properties of rock undergoing deformation cause variations in rheological response due to lithological changes, temperature gradients, and pre-existing weaknesses. As pointed out by McKinstry

(1955) the relative competency of the rock sequences is important in localizing open space. Brittle layers preferentially develop vein arrays and boudin necks, and can cause developing structures that transect them to be refracted from their initial path (Ferrill & Morris, 2003). One

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example comes from the Mary Kathleen fold belt in the central Mt. Isa block, Australia, where altered and mineralized rock formed in veins and boudin necks in strain shadows adjacent to competent, low permeability metadolerite and metagranite bodies surrounded by weak calcsilicate rocks during syn-metamorphic fluid flow at amphibolite grade P-T conditions (fig. 14; Marshall & Oliver, 2001, Oliver et al., 2001). Mineralization (Cu, Au, U-REE) in the district is spatially related to the alteration. A second example comes from gold deposits in the Kalgoorlie district, Western Australia. Veins and breccias in the shear-zone hosted Golden Mile deposit are best developed within the Golden Mile dolerite, a differentiated tholeiitic sill, and quartz vein arrays in the Mt. Charlotte mine are even more restricted to the granophyric Unit 8 of the Golden Mile dolerite (Clout, et al., 1990; Solomon & Groves, 2000). A third example comes from the Morning Star mine in Victoria, Australia, where quartz-gold veins formed during reverse faulting are restricted to the Woods Point dike, and carried the highest gold grades in Victoria (Solomon & Groves, 2000, p.691).

Figure 14. Schematic 3D geology of the Mary Kathleen fold belt, Australia, showing how distribution of altered and mineralized rock (black) was controlled by deformation (E-W shortening) of competent metadolerite bodies in calc-silicate host rocks (modified from Oliver et al., 2001).

Pre-existing weaknesses may be utilized as openings. One example comes from the Idaho Springs district in Colorado, where foliation in Precambrian basement rocks was reactivated in shear and extensional mode during Tertiary precious and base metal vein mineralization (fig. 15; Beach, 2000; Nelson et al., 2003). In this case, productive veins are concentrated within the Precambrian Idaho Springs-Ralston shear zone, which contains foliations and folds that trend

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parallel to the shear zone boundary (fig. 15). Southeast of the shear zone foliation and folds trend nearly perpendicular to the shear zone boundary, and no economic veins are present.

Figure 15. Lower hemisphere equal area nets and map of structural elements in the Idaho Springs mining district, Colorado. A. Density contour of poles to foliation within and northwest of Idaho SpringsRalston (IRS) shear zone; B. density contour of poles to veins in the Idaho Springs district (outlined on the map); C. rose diagram of trend of Precambrian folds within and northwest of IRS; D. rose diagram of trend of Precambrian folds southeast of IRS; E. map of productive veins within and northwest of IRS; lines with arrows are fold axial plane traces, solid = antiform, dashed = synform (data from Beach, 2000; basemap from Moench & Drake, 1966).

Proposed working classification of structural openings related to localization of ore deposits Early descriptions of some structural controls on mineralization were summarized in works by Newhouse (1942), McKinstry (1948, 1955), and Lovering & Goddard (1950) and many others. Numerous attempts have been made to classify veins and structurally-controlled ore deposits (e.g., Lindgren, 1933; Bateman, 1981; Guilbert & Park, 1986). As with Batemans 1981 classification of open space deposits (table 1; his type 4.A.1), most classifications of structural openings contain an ambiguous mixture of terms and categories. For example, Batemans classification of open space deposits (table 1) includes categories for fissure vein, tension-crack

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fillings, breccia fillings, and shear-zone deposits. However, fissure veins and tension cracks are likely the same in origin, and breccias may fill any of the other ore types (Taylor & Pollard, 1993). Also, much ore in shear-zone hosted deposits is present in what Bateman refers to as fissure or tension veins. Therefore, numerous categories could describe the same ore deposit, and the classification is thus confusing and its usefulness diminished.

Figure 16. Stereographic construction of ore shoot orientation from intersection of fault plane with various Riedel fractures (R, R, P, and T), or 90 from the slip line in the fault plane. Left column: examples for north-striking reverse and normal faults with 45 dip to east, and for north-striking vertical wrench fault with dextral shear sense. Cross sections on right illustrate the angular relationships of reverse and normal fault models. Lower right stereonet illustrates a more general case in which the fault is an oblique slip fault and the ore shoot rakes 26 in the fault plane.

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A. fissure veins B. shear-zone deposits C. stockworks D. ladder veins E. saddle-reefs F. tension-crack fillings G. breccia fillings (volcanic, tectonic, collapse) H. solution-cavity fillings I. pore-space fillings J. vesicular fillings Table 1. Batemans (1981) classification of open space deposits formed by hydrothermal processes.

In another example, Guilbert & Park (1986) Although classify this veins seems as a simple, simple complex, irregular, and anastomosing. classification, each category is based on a different, unrelated set of criteria. For example, a simple vein is defined as mineralization of a single, simple fault

fissure, and a complex vein contains multiple laminae. However, many single fault veins are laminated. Also, irregular veins are defined as having variable thickness, and anastomosing veins as having a braided pattern. However, individual veins in an anastomosing array could have variable thickness. Because past classifications of veins and other structural openings contain many old terms and ambiguous mixtures of categories, we propose a new working classification of structural openings (table 2). The primary classes of principal geologic structures that host ore bodies include fault and shear zones, structural intersections, folds, strain shadows, igneous-related structures,
Figure 17. Axis of ore shoot formed in fault jog perpendicular to slip line (slickenlines) for three primary types of faults (reverse, normal, and strike slip). Note that ore shoot forms in flat sections of reverse faults and steep sections of normal faults. Modified from Cox et al. (2001).

and

collapse

structures.

Because structural intersections mostly involve intersection of a fault or shear zone with some other contact (another fault, stratigraphic or pluton contact, The sub-

dikes, etc.), this structural type is included under the fault/shear zone category.

classes in the proposed classification represent the types of open-space strain features that develop in association with the principal structures, and are generally easy to recognize in the field during exploration projects. The proposed classification is designed to assist explorationists in formulating structuralmineralization models for exploration projects, and to guide the explorationist in recognizing

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associations of structural features in the field. It is hoped that this proposed working classification will generate discussion within the exploration community, such that practical improvements can be made and the classification can become more robust and useful in exploration.
Classes A. Fault and shear zone
Dilatant jogs

Process
Shearing

Example
Ohio Creek (New Zealand) Porgera (Papua New Guinea) Arcata (Peru)

Type of deposit
Porphyry Copper (Cu-Au) Epithermal (Ag-Au-Pb-Zn) Epithermal intermediate sulfidation (Ag-Pb-Zn-Au) Epithermal (W) Epithermal (Ag-Pb-Zn) Epithermal (porphyry related) (Ag-Au-Pb-Zn) MVT (Zn-Pb) High sulfidation Epithermal (Au-Cu) Epithermal Intermediate sulfidation (Ag-Pb-Zn-Au) Unconformity-type uranium deposits (U) Epithermal (Au-Ag)

Reference
Corbett & Leach (1996) Corbett & Leach (1995) Echavarria & Nelson (2002) Echavarria et al. (2003) Lovering & Goddard (1950) Lovering & Goddard (1950) Corbett & Leach (1996) Miller & Nelson (2002) Corbett & Leach (1996) Echavarria (2002) Hoeve & Sibbald (1978) Rytuba (1994)

Dilatant bends

Clyde Tungsten mine (Colorado) Bell Mine (Colorado) Fault splays (including wing veins) En echelon fractures Intersections (other faults, dikes, unconformities) Wau (Papua New Guinea) Pillara (Australia) Mount Kasi (Fiji) Caylloma (Peru) Fault-Fault Rabbit Lake (Canada) Fault-Unconformity Jefferson Canyon (Nevada) Fault-Caldera margin

B. Fold
Saddle reefs Limb Faults

Folding (shortening and extension) Bendigo (Australia) Orogenic gold (Au) Phillips & Hughes (1996) Cox et al. (1991)

C. Strain shadow
Boudin necks Vein arrays in brittle layers

Local extension normal to layering Mount Isa (Australia) FeOx-Cu-Au-U Perkins (1984) Findlay (1982) Oliver et al. (2001) Clout et al. (1990)

Golden Mile, Kalgoorlie Orogenic gold (Au-Ag) (Australia)

Table 2. Proposed working classification of structural openings related to localization of ore bodies.

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Classes D. Igneousrelated structures

Process
Fracturing and brecciation due to intrusion, thermal expansion, fluid overpressure, or flow brecciation

Example

Type of deposit

Reference

Diatremes and breccia pipes

Balatoc, Baguio (Phillipines) Pueblo Viejo (Rep. Dominicana)

Epithermal (Au-Ag)

Epithermal (Au-Ag)

Sillitoe & Bonham (1984) Cooke et al. (1996) Russell & Kesler (1991) Thompson et al. (1985) Ossandon et al. (2001) Padilla Garza et al. (2001) Titley (1982) Cunningham et al. (1991)

Porphyry stockwork

Flow related breccia (flows and domes)

Cripple Creek Epithermal (Au-Ag) Chuquicamata, La Porphyry deposits (Cu-Au) Escondida, El Salvador (Chile) Morenci, Silver Bell, Ajo (Arizona) Todos Santos, Epithermal (Ag) Carangas (Bolivia) Fracturing due to collapse Jefferson City Mine (Tennessee), Buick Mine (Missouri) MVT (Zn-Pb)

E. Collapse related structures


Dissolution

Ohle (1985)

Table 2. cont.

As with past classifications, our proposed classification is not without problems. Although four of the main categories are labeled with structural types (fault, fold, strain shadow, collapse structure), the fifth category label is modified with a rock-type association (igneous-related structures). In addition, although structures in each of the four categories generally form by a single strain-related process, igneous-related structures may form by a number of possible processes. Another practical problem with this classification is that a number of mesoscopic structural features may be associated with large-scale structures in more than one category. For example, veins and vein arrays (such as en echelon arrays), can be associated with any of the primary categories. Faults can form in association with folds, igneous related structures, and collapse structures. Breccias can form in dilational fault jogs and bends, in fold-related openings, in diatremes and igneous breccia pipes, and in collapse-related ore deposits. Therefore, during exploration the structures in the principal categories must be viewed in a larger context, with consideration of all the mesoscopic-scale structures that might be associated with the principal structure.

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Structural methods in exploration for structural openings A number of structural methods are useful in the exploration for ore deposits in structural openings. As many hydrothermal deposits are associated directly or indirectly with faults or shear zones, knowledge of orientation of the fault slip vector is extremely important for modeling the orientation of ore shoots. When stress controls the orientation and kinematics of faults and fractures in the absence of pre-existing weaknesses, ore shoots form where the orientation of the fault zone changes and approaches parallelism with the plane containing 1-2 (for example in fault bends and jogs; figs. 1, 10). In this case ore shoot orientation is perpendicular to the fault slip line (Fig. 17). The orientation of the slip line can be determined using a number of structural features and techniques. Structural features include slickenlines and fault corrugations, subsidiary fractures related to fault slip (such as those predicted by the Riedel model, fig. 6,16), shear fabrics in fault rocks such as S-C fabric (e.g., Ramsay & Huber, 1987, p. 632), and shearrelated folds. S-C type fabrics consist of two sets of anastomosing foliations (Berthe et al., 1979) and can form in ductile shear zones formed by plastic deformation mechanisms, as well as in fault zones formed by brittle cataclastic flow. C-planes represent spaced shear planes, and S-planes represent generally penetrative planes of flattening.

Figure 18. S-C shear fabric in granitic rock from Altar district, Sonora, Mexico. S-plane and Cplane orientations shown in upper right. Stereonet shows method of determining the ore shoot orientation from the intersection of S- and C-planes.

Orthographic and combined orthographic/stereographic methods can be used to determine the orientation of the slip line using piercing point analysis if the fault offsets two differently oriented structural planes, such as bedding and a dike (Marshak & Mitra, 1988, p.81; Leyshon & Lisle, 1996, p. 56). Stereographic methods also can be used to construct the slip vector. Slickenlines,

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or fault striations, are common on the walls of many fault veins. If the striations formed by crystal fiber growth (termed slickenfibers; Ramsay & Huber, 1987), then they formed parallel to

Figure 19. Gocad 3D computer model of Pillara Mississippi Valley-type Zn-Pb deposit in Western Australia (Miller & Nelson, 2002). A. North-looking perspective of 3D model showing simple graben-bounding faults offsetting colored stratigraphic contacts. Yellow is surface representing contour of 3% Zn grade. B. Cross section of Eastern fault showing near-vertical splays off of fault where fault steepens. C. Longitudinal cross section of Eastern fault showing near horizontal intersection between main fault plane and more vertical second-order fractures (veins).

the slip line at the time of fault vein formation. However, if the striations formed by mechanical wear during shearing (fault movement), then they must have formed after the time of fault vein formation, and may not be parallel to the slip line during fault vein formation. Nonetheless, as many fault veins form by repeated movements and fluid flow events during one tectonic cycle, it can often be assumed that fault vein striations of this type are parallel to the slip line. If ore is related to a fault or shear zone with subsidiary fractures ore shoot orientation is predicted to be parallel to the intersection of the fault with any of the subsidiary fractures predicted by the Riedel

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model (fig. 16). If ore is related to a fault or shear zone with S-C type shear fabric (Berth et al., 1979), ore shoot orientation is predicted to be parallel to the intersection of the S-planes and the C-planes (Fig. 18). If ore is related to shear folds, the slip line can be constructed by stereographically analyzing fold hinge orientation and fold asymmetry by the Hansen method (Hansen, 1967). Modern 3-D computer modeling techniques also can be very useful in predicting ore shoot orientation. For example, Miller & Nelson (2002), using a Gocad 3D model (fig. 19), showed that Zn ore in the Pillara mine in Western Australia is concentrated along graben-bounding faults and within splay veins (extension, or T fractures). The line of intersection between the faults and the T-fractures is nearly horizontal as demanded by kinematics of graben formation, rather than being controlled by stratigraphy. Conclusions Structural openings in rocks constitute the primary permeability network for the formation of most hydrothermal ore deposits. The distribution, geometry, density, and orientation of ore bodies in structural openings are controlled by two primary factors: the far and near field stresses and the mechanical properties of rock. When stress controls the orientation and kinematics of faults and fractures in the absence of pre-existing weaknesses, ore shoot orientation is perpendicular to the fault slip vector and can be predicted by kinematic analysis. However, when structural openings form along pre-existing weaknesses, ore shoot orientation cannot always be predicted by kinematic analysis. Because we can classify ore bodies based on the types of geological structures discussed above and the variations that naturally occur from material property heterogeneity, exploration for hydrothermal ore deposits should include analysis of geologic structure and evolution, rheological variations, pre-existing weakness, and fault kinematics to evaluate structural controls on localization of ore bodies. Further, use of modern structural geologic analyses allows for the prediction of the orientation and possibly the location of unsampled ore bodies associated with various structural openings in rocks. References Agricola G. (1556).- De Re Metallica (English translation by H.C. Hoover & L.H. Hoover, 1912): New York, Dover Publications Inc., 1950.

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