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Ore genesis

How the various types of mineral deposits form within the Earth's crust / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Various theories of ore genesis explain how the various types of mineral deposits form within Earth's crust. Ore-genesis theories vary depending on the mineral or commodity examined.

High-grade gold ore from the Harvard Mine, Jamestown, California, a wide quartz-gold vein in California's Mother Lode. Specimen is 3.2 cm (1.3 in) wide.

Ore-genesis theories generally involve three components: source, transport or conduit, and trap. (This also applies to the petroleum industry: petroleum geologists originated this analysis.)

  • Source is required because metal must come from somewhere, and be liberated by some process.
  • Transport is required first to move the metal-bearing fluids or solid minerals into their current position, and refers to the act of physically moving the metal, as well as to chemical or physical phenomena which encourage movement.
  • Trapping is required to concentrate the metal via some physical, chemical, or geological mechanism into a concentration which forms mineable ore.

The biggest deposits form when the source is large, the transport mechanism is efficient, and the trap is active and ready at the right time.

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