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Assessment Techniques for Concealed Mineral Resources

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Project summary:

Areas of cover are practically the only remaining areas for the identification of new mineral resources within the U.S. Cover includes pre-, syn-, and post-mineralization rocks, colluvium/alluvium and water that conceal a mineral resource from recognition at the surface of the earth. Research into methods of identifying covered mineral resources are needed to improve the accuracy and validity of mineral resource assessments. Elucidation of existing techniques and discovery of new techniques for quantitative measures to assist in mineral resource assessment are also needed.

Major objectives of the project:

The objective is to specify and evaluate innovative methods of combining geologic, geochemical, geophysical, and mineral resources data with existing and new mineral deposit models to predict the possibility and probability of undiscovered deposits in covered terranes. The initial areas of emphasis are the Basin and Range and Alaska. There are four primary themes or goals of the project:

  • defining the primary affects (formed during mineralization) of hydrothermal systems, including the deposit itself and the distant edges of deposits to increase the ability to vector towards mineralization,
  • defining the cover (thickness, timing and/or style) and the role the cover played in postmineralization processes (because the products of those processes are sometimes evident at the surface),
  • developing techniques that see through cover, and
  • develop methods of combining datasets to produce estimates of possibility/probability


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