Calderas and Mineralization Volcanic Geology and Mineralization in the Chinati Caldera Complex, Trans-Pecos Texas

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Duex, Timothy W.
Henry, Christopher D.

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This report describes preliminary results of an ongoing study of the volcanic stratigraphy, caldera activity, and known and potential mineralization of the Chinati Mountains area of Trans-Pecos Texas. Many ore deposits are spatially associated with calderas and other volcanic centers. A genetic relationship between calderas and base and precious metal mineralization has been proposed by some (Albers and Kleinhampl, 1970) and denied by others (McKee, 1976, 1979). Steven and others (1974) have demonstrated that calderas provide an important setting for mineralization in the San Juan volcanic field of Colorado. Mineralization is not found in all calderas but is apparently restricted to calderas that had complex, post-subsidence igneous activity. A comparison of volcanic setting, volcanic history, caldera evolution, and evidence of mineralization in Trans-Pecos to that of the San Juan volcanic field, a major mineral producer, indicates that Trans-Pecos Texas also could be an important mineralized region.

The Chinati caldera complex in Trans-Pecos Texas contains at least two calderas that have had considerable post-subsidence activity and that display large areas of hydrothermal alteration and mineralization. Abundant prospects in Trans-Pecos and numerous producing mines in the continuation of the Trans-Pecos volcanic field immediately south in Mexico are additional evidence that ore-grade deposits could occur in Texas.


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