Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

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Coupled Thermal, Mechanical, Chemical, and Hydraulic Phenomena in Ore Formation

Meaningful and reproducible domestic and international mineral-resource assessments as well as interpreting the effects of mineralized and mined ground on the environment require scientific understanding of the processes that localize mineralizing hydrothermal systems and the ores within them and quantitative mineral-deposit models derived from this understanding. We currently do not understand (1) where within geologically permissive terranes mineralizing hydrothermal systems are likely to occur, (2) the geologic conditions and interdependent natural phenomena necessary for the deposition of ore-grade material, (3) how climate and topography affect the ore-forming potential of hydrothermal systems, (4) what conditions are conducive to the formation of "giant" or "world-class" deposits, and (5) what conditions lead to the economic "failure" of a hydrothermal system to form substantial tonnages of highgrade material within it.

Project Chief:

Byron Berger
Box 25046 Denver Federal Center MS 964
Denver, CO 80225
Phone: (303) 236-5533



  • Berger, B.R., Goldhaber, M.B., Hildenbrand, T., and Wanty, R.B., 1998, Origin of Carlin-style gold deposits: coupled regional fluid flow, core-complex related extension, strike-slip faults, and magmatism: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 30, no. 7, p. 371. View Berger 1998 GSA abstract.


  • Anderson, R.E., Berger, B., and Snee, L.W., 2000, Heterogenous uplift and tilting of basement blocks in an extensional tectonic setting, Wassuk Range-Coal Valley area, Nevada: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 32, no. 7, p. 43. View Anderson GSA abstract.
  • Berger, B.R., Phillips, J.D., and Ridley, W.I., 2000, The role of basement structures in the localization of Laramide mineralization: Examples from the Patagonia Mountains, south-central Arizona: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 32, no. 7, p. 393. View 2000 Berger GSA abstract.
  • Berger, B.R., Snee, L.W., and Tingley J.V., 1999, Implications of new structural and 40Ar/39Ar data on hydraulic evolution of epithermal veins and ore formation, Aurora and Bode mining districts, Nevada-California: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 31, no. 7, p. 94. View 1999 Berger GSA abstract.
  • Fifarek, R.H., Denny, F.B., Snee, L.W., and Miggins, D.P., 2001, Permian igneous activity in southeastern Illinois and western Kentucky: Implications for tectonism and economic resources: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 33, no. 6, p. 420. View Fifarek GSA abstract.


  • Berger, B.R., Tingley, J.V., and Drew, L.J., 2003, Structural localization and origin of compartmentalized fluid flow, Comstock Lode, Virginia City, Nevada: Economic Geology, v. 98, pp. 387-408.
  • Henley, R.W., and Berger, B.R., 2000, Self-ordering and complexity in epizonal mineral deposits: Annual Reviews in Earth and Planetary Science, v. 28, p. 669-719.
  • Hildenbrand, T.G., Berger, B., Jachens, R.C., and Ludington S., 2000, Regional crustal structures and their relationship to the distribution of ore deposits in the western United States: Economic Geology, v. 95, p. 1583-1603.
  • Hildrenbrand, T.G., Berger, B., Jachens, R.C., and Ludington, S., 2001, Utility of magnetic and gravity data in evaluating regional control on mineralization: Examples from the western United States, in Richards, J.P., and Tosdal, R.M., eds., Society of Economic Geologists, Reviews in Economic Geology, v. 14, p. 75-109.
  • John, D.A., 2001, Miocene and early Pliocene epithermal gold-silver deposits in the nothern Great Basin, western United States: Characteristics, distributution, and relationship to magmatism: Economic Geology, v. 96, p. 1827-1853.
  • U.S. Geological Survey, 2001, Six Aeromagnetic Surveys in Nevada and California: A Web Site for Distribution of Dat: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-0145. Available on-line at

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