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Porphyry Copper and Other Intrusion-Related Mineralization in Mexico

MARK D. BARTON
JOHN-MARK G. STAUDE
LUKASZORCHER
PETER K. M. MEGAW

Department of Geosciences, University ofArizona, Tucson, Arizona


University ofArizona and u.s. Geological Survey, Tucson , Arizona
University ofArizona, Tucson, Arizona
Imdex Inc., Tucson, Arizona

The continuum of intrusion-related mineralization in


Mexico can be divided by geological associations, metal contents, and styles of alteration. Although more than 1,500 intrusion-associated mineral deposits are known, the scarcity
of data requires a simplified approach focusing on major
districts. We distinguish the following overlapping groups of
deposits based on their metal contents and igneous compositions: (1) porphyry or skarn Cu(-Mo-Zn) associated with
intermediate to felsic granitoids, (2) porphyry or skarn Cu
(-Au-Fe) associated with intermediate intrusions, (3) greisen,
skarn, or pegmatite W(-Mo) associated with intermediate to
felsic granitoids, (4) replacement or skarn Zn-Pb-Ag(-Cu-F)
deposits associated with felsic intrusions, (5) volcanic-hosted
vein Ag-Au(-Zn-F-Sn) deposits associated with hypabyssal
felsic intrusions, (6) vein replacement Ag-Au(-Cu-Zn-Pb)
deposits associated with intermediate stocks, (7) volcanichosted Au-Ag( -Cu) systems, (8) rhyolite-related F( -Sn-Be)
deposits, (9) diorite-related Fe(-Au-Cu) skarns, and (9) rhyolite-related Fe deposits.
Some inferences can be drawn from examination of
these patterns:
Igneous compositions vary in time and space in Mexico,
but multiple compositions commonly were emplaced at different times in the same region. Temporal variations (as in
Sonora) are as important as differences in province (as between Sonora and southern Mexico).
Alteration and metal differences between alkaline and
sub alkaline, felsic and mafic magma suites can be partly rationalized from equilibria among igneous minerals (for example, in terms of aAl z0 3 vs aCaO [vs aSiO z])' fluid chloride
and sulfur contents, and magmatic metal contents which reflect province and process.
Exposure and preservation filter observed Mexican metallogeny. Erosion of the Mesozoic arc superstructure in the
west leaves mainly tungsten-skarns, burial of the Laramide
arc in central Mexico interrupts porphyry copper patterns,
and minimal exhumation of mid-Tertiary intrusive centers
preserves distal vein or replacement systems.
The superimposed metallogenic patterns in Mexico have
parallels with metallogenic patterns in the western United
States in terms of the effects of preservation, process,
and province. Future work should focus on increasing the
basic geological data on mineral deposits and igneous rocks.
Geochronology, petrology, and geochemistry would help
better define the temporal, spatial, and compositional
interrelationships between tectonism, magmatism, and
mineralization.

ABSTRACT
Intrusion-related copper-bearing ore deposits in Mexico
span a wide-range of deposit types and geological settings
and formed from the mid-Mesozoic through the Holocene.
These deposits include world-class copper porphyry and
skarn deposits as well as a continuum of similar skarn,
porphyry, vein, and replacement deposits that contain variable quantities of molybdenum, zinc, silver, lead, iron, gold,
tungsten, tin, fluorine, and beryllium. Based on a new compilation, this paper reviews data on the full spectrum of
intrusion-related deposits, concentrating on copper-rich systems, and attempts to place them in a generalized geological
and petrological context.
In Mexico, intrusion-related mineral deposits are primarily Mesozoic to middle Tertiary in age. Three broad
periods are prominent in the mineralization record: the late
Mesozoic, the Laramide, and the middle Tertiary. Jurassic
to Late Cretaceous calc-alkalic batholiths with sparse volcanic rocks occur along the Pacific margin mainly on
eugeoclinal crust, although locally on continental crust (for
example, in Sonora). Latest Cretaceous to Early Tertiary
('Laramide') calc-alkalic batholithic, subvolcanic, and volcanic centers occur in an overlapping but somewhat more
easterly band that extends with diminished intensity and
somewhat younger ages into the Sierra Madre Oriental.
Mid-Tertiary volcanism and local intrusive centers are
widely developed, with the greatest abundance of calcalkalic felsic volcanics in the Sierra Madre Occidental and
more mafic middle to late Tertiary arc volcanics in the Sierra Madre del Sur in southern Mexico and as a fringe of
alkalic volcanic' and sub volcanic centers in northeastern
Mexico.
Over 600 copper-rich intrusion-related systems can be
inferred from the literature; about 100 can be documented
with some confidence. Copper-rich deposits occur with both
intermediate (dioritic) and felsic (granodioritic) intrusive
centers and show a corresponding variety of associated metals and alteration types. Styles include porphyry-type disseminated or stockwork mineralization, skarn, breccia pipes,
and pegmatites. Multiple styles commonly occur in the same
district. Porphyry copper deposits are best developed in
association with the Laramide intrusive centers of northern
Mexico and the mid-Tertiary intrusions in southern Mexico.
Other intrusion-related deposit types occur within the same
magmatic framework, but they have different temporal and
spatial correlations related to their igneous composition and
exposure level.

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488

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M. D. BARTON, J. G. STAUDE, L. ZU RCH ER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

INTRODUCTION
Overview

Copper mining began in Mexico over 400 years ago, and


development of porphyry copper deposit mining began nearly
100 years ago (Barrett, 1987). High-grade underground mines
and large-scale open-pit mines have helped make Mexico one of
the larger copper producers in the world, providing approximately 8 percent of annual world copper production (CardenasVargas, 1993), mostly from two mines, Cananea and La Caridad.
The porphyry copper deposits of Mexico range from the economically insignificant and/or unexplored to the world-class
deposits exploited in the Cananea and Nacozari Districts of
Sonora. Copper-dominated deposits vary considerably among
themselves and can be considered paI1 of a larger continuum of
intrusion-related ore deposits of Mexico and southwestern
North America. In this paper the term " porphyry copper systems" is broadly applied to large intrusion- and volcanic-hosted
copper-dominated deposits. As such it may include districts
where the predominate mineralization may be in the form of
skarns or breccia pipes but the intrusive phases nevertheless
show porphyry-like alteration. Such systems share many characteristics with other intrusion-related mineral deposits.
The varied geological settings and prolonged magmatic history of Mexico present an opportunity to examine a wide spectrum of intrusion-related mineralization. Here we summarize the
types and di stribution of intrusion-related mineralization in
Mexico with an emphasis on porphyry copper-type systems. We
refer the reader interested in other types of Mexican igneousrelated mineralization to reviews of volcanogenic massive sulfide
deposits (for example, Miranda-Gasca, 1994) and epithermal
deposits (for example, Buchanan, 1981). We first review characteristics of Mexican copper deposits and then compare them to
other types of Mexican metallic ore deposits in order to provide
an updated synthesis of their distribution and geology. We
briefly consider the importance of factors such as exposure and
preservation, igneous compositions, and geographic distribution
in controlling the types and distribution of mineralization in
order to draw attention to patterns within and between metallogenic groups. Our synthesis is based primarily on better
known districts for which a range of geological and geochemical data are available, but where poss ible we have incorporated
new data from current or previously unpublished research.
Previous Work

Interest in Mexican porphyry copper occurrences goes back


to the turn of the century, when the first detailed descriptions
of copper mineralization in the Cananea and Rio Yaqui areas
appeared in the mining literature (Ordonez, 1905; Weed, 1902).
Published work on porphyry copper systems during the first half
of thi s century evolved from short site descriptions (Pearce,
1910; Richard, 1904; Russell, 1908; Southworth, 1905) to more
detailed summaries of both districts and porphyry copper areas
(Emmons, 1910; Mishler, 1920; Valentine, 1936). Since 1950 a
variety of deposit and district-scale studies have been published
along with a number of reviews and syntheses of existing information. Notable among these are syntheses that show distribu-

tion and metallogenic characteristics (Salas, 1975), porphyrystyle mineralization and alteration (Sillitoe, 1976), possible relation to subduction zone tectonics (Clark and others, 1982), and
geochronology (Damon and others, 1983). In these summaries
fewer than thirty deposits are identified as porphyry copper systems . Published alteration maps or detailed geochemistry or
petrology are available for only a few districts. Sillitoe (1976)
and Damon and others (1983) compiled data on some deposits,
and we summarize data for additional deposits here. Only the
two producing Sonoran districts are described in more than a
few papers in the international literature. Considerable information exists in theses and in private and government files, and we
have attempted to augment publi shed data with unpubli shed
information where possible. One of the laI'gest unpublished data
sources, the files of the Consejo de Recursos Minerales, is
beginning to be published in the form of state summaries of ore
deposits (for example, Cardenas-Vargas, 1992, 1993). These
summaries provide a valuable geologic and mineralization
framework to interpret the distribution of m'etallic occurrences
and extent of minerali zation at the di strict scale.
We have compiled data on over 7,000 metallic districts and
igneous centers in Mexico. This data set summarizes rep0l1ed
lithologic, mineralization, and timing information. Data on
intrusion-hosted and associated ore systems are useful in expanding present understanding of porphyry and related systems
in Mex ico. Our work deepens and broadens the earlier compilations of Gonzalez-Reyna (1944; 1956b), which showed about
300 copper-bearing districts.
Considerable private and government exploration in the
1960's focu sed on exploration for porphyry copper deposits.
One of the most successful campaigns resulted in the discovery
of the La Caridad porphyry deposit in the Nacozari District,
Sonora (SaegaI1 and others, 1974) and the location of several
prospects in the Nogales region (Tio Flaco, EI Correo, Planchas
de Plata). These discoveries were the consequence of a joint
Consejo de Recursos Naturales No Renovables-United NationsUnited States Geological Survey project in northern Sonora.
Largely unpublished, this multi-disciplinary copper exploration
program ran from 1964 through about 1974. During the same
general period industry exploration identified numerous copper
skarn, breccia, and porphyry deposits throughout Mexico. For
example, Anaconda geologists located more than 15 districts of
these types in central Michoacan and westernmost GuelTero.
The Anaconda geologists did not publish their findings, but their
unpublished reports, which are in the collections of the University of Wyoming, provide basic information about alteration
styles and host rocks.
GEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

The distribution of intrusion-related mineralization in Mexico reflects the timing and spatial distribution of magmatism as
well as the post-magmatic geological history. The general geological and tectonic framework of Mexico has recently been
interpreted by Sedlock and others (1993). Their summary builds
upon plate tectonic and terrane studies by Coney (1983) and
Campa and Coney (1983). Coney (1989) and De Cserna (1990)
provide excellent tectonic syntheses. Lopez-Ramos (1974), and
books published during the 1956 International Geological Con-

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTHER INTRUSION-RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

489

gress in Mexico City provide extensive sedimentary and lesser


igneous rock summaries for Mexico.
The geology of Mexico is broadly divisible into a western
to southwestern (Pacific) region of predominantly Mesozoic
eugeoclinal (arc-related) material, two Precambrian regions in
the northwest and south, and a north-central to southeast (interior and Gulf of Mexico) region of thick Mesozoic carbonate
platforms overlying rifted metamorphic basement of variable
age (fig. 1). The eugeoclinal zone comprises much of the southwestern part of Mexico and narrows along the northern third of
the Pacific margin. Thick late Mesozoic carbonate platforms of
north-central, eastern, and southeastern Mexico are built on
early to mid-Mesozoic clastic sequences that overlie poorly
known metamorphic basement of Precambrian, Paleozoic, and
Mesozoic ages. Apart from the Proterozoic rocks of the Oaxaca
terrane which may underlie nearby areas, southern and southwestern Mexico consist predominantly of Mesozoic eugeoclinal
materials of the Guerrero, Mixteca, and like terranes (Campa
and Coney, 1983; Sedlock and others, 1993).

Igneous Distribution and Compositional Trends


Mexico has a complex magmatic history that dates back at
least to the mid-Proterozoic and continues at present. Magmas
intrude all pal1s of the Mexican crust but are best exposed in the
western half of the country. Economic deposits are largely restricted to late Mesozoic and Cenozoic igneous centers related
to plate convergence along the Pacific margin.
Pre-Jurassic magmatism is widely developed in Mexico.
Proterozoic granitoids in northwestern Mexico continue the
mid-Proterozoic belts of the southwestern United States (Anderson and Silver, 1977). Paleozoic intrusions are rare with the exception of equigranular granitoids of Permian age (Torres-Vargas
and others, 1994). These are widely distributed in eastern
through southern Mexico and are apparently related to protoAtlantic convergence in eastern Mexico. The Permian rocks
lack significant mineralization or coeval volcanic rocks. Sparse
Triassic volcanic rocks are mainly mafic in composition. They
are known in western Baja California (Gastil and others, 1975),
in the rift-related late Triassic Barranca group in Sonora (Stewart
and Roldan, 1991), and in various parts of the Zacatecas Formation of central and southern Mexico (Sedlock and others, 1993).
Mineralization associated with these rocks is not evident in
Mexico, but significant hydrothermal alteration and limited porphyry-type copper mineralization occurs in Triassic rocks in the
southwestern United States (Battles, 1990; Seedorff, 1991).
Jurassic igneous rocks are well dated in only a few areas
but are inferred to be common from northwestern to southcentral Mexico (Damon and others, 1983). Sparse mafic rocks
occur with rift-related sedimentary rocks along the Gulf of
Mexico coast, and a few tonalitic intrusions occur inland in
Veracruz (Ortega and others, 1992). Most Jurassic rocks lie in
arc-related intrusive centers from Sonora and Baja California to
Chiapas (fig. 2). Near the Pacific coast, Jurassic igneous rocks
are predominantly basaltic to intermediate volcanics with some
gabbroic to ton ali tic intrusions (Cardenas-Vargas, 1992). Inland,
from Sonora to Guerrero, Jurassic rocks belong to a hornblendebearing monzodiorite-quartz monzonite-granite suite and locally
have associated andesitic volcanic rocks. Jurassic volcanic and

.,.

Figure 1. Broad geological division of Mexico into carbonate-dominated


and arc-dominated regions, with generalized location of Precambrian
basement.

intrusive rocks are present in some porphyry copper districts


such as Cananea (Meinert, 1982; Bushnell, 1988). Copper mineralization has not been described with these rocks, but some
iron skarns with minor copper in Baja California and perhaps
southern Mexico may be related to Jurassic diorites. These
Jurassic suites match comparable Jurassic rocks which commonly have extensive hydrothermal alteration and some copper
mineralization in the western United States (Barton and others,
1988; Riggs and Haxel, 1990; Saleeby and Busby-Spera, 1992)
from the Bisbee and Courtland-Gleeson Districts in southern
Arizona northwestward into eastern California and Nevada
(Battles, 1990; Tosdal and others, 1989).
Cretaceous and Cenozoic magmatism are responsible for
virtually all igneous-related mineralization in Mexico. After a
Late Jurassic lull, vigorous magmatism renewed in western
Mexico where it continued through much of the Cretaceous
before expanding eastward during the Laramide Orogeny (about
80 to 40 Ma). This produced the metaluminous diorite-tonalite
suites of the early and mid-Cretaceous Peninsular Range and
Sinaloa Batholiths of Baja California, Sinaloa, and southern
Sonora (Gastil and Krummenacher, 1981; Henry, 1975). The
Sinaloa Batholith, much like the Sonora Batholith, is a composite batholith with plutonism spanning a range of compositions
(granite to gabbro) and age (50 to 102 Ma). These batholiths
correlate with the well known Peninsular Range and Sierra
Nevada Batholiths of California. These composite intrusive
complexes are typically equigranular and have associated metasedimentary and sparse metavolcanic rocks. Cretaceous volcanic rocks of pre-Laramide age (older than 80 Ma) are common
in only a few areas of central and southern Baja California and
northeast of Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Farther south, time-equivalent
monzodioritic to granodioritic intrusions are abundant in Cretaceous limestone-intermediate volcanic sequences of the Guerrero
terrane (states of Nayarit through Guerrero) .

490

M. D. BARTON , 1. G. STAUD E, L. ZURCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

Pre-Laramide
Magmatism
(180-80 Ma)

II

Extrusive

II

Intrusive

Geology modified from Ortega and others, 1992


Figure 2. Mesozoic (pre-Laramide, -180-80 Ma) volcanic and intrusive rocks of Mexico. Modified from Ortega and others (1992).

Beginning at about 80 Ma, magmatism spread across much


of northern Mexico. Laramide magmatism began in western
Sonora and southern Baja California (fig. 3; McDowell and Clabaugh, 1979). By Eocene time magmas were being emplaced
across the breadth of northern Mexico from central Sonora and
Sinaloa into eastern Chihuahua, San Luis Potosi, and Zacatecas
(Aguirre Diaz and McDowell, 1991). The dioritic to granodioritic Sonoran Batholith and sparse exposures of similar intrusive
rocks to the south represent the first phase of this expansion
(Rangin, 1986). Volcanic rocks are sparse to absent and intrusions are generally pre- and early Laramide in western Sonora,
Baja California, and western Sinaloa (Gastil and others, 1981 ;
Henry, 1975). Farther south, magmatism apparently expanded
only moderately to the east, remaining within a few hundred kilometers of the Pacific coast.
Hydrothermally altered andesitic volcanic rocks are abundantly preserved along much of the Laramide arc, particularly in
the eastern half (fig. 3). These rocks constitute the lower volcanic complex of the Sierra Madre Occidental and adjoining areas
(McDowell and Keizer, 1977). They are partly covered by voluminous mid-Tertiary volcanic rocks of the Sierra Madre Occidental ignimbrite province. To the south Laramide volcanic
rocks are widespread but largely covered by younger volcanic
rocks (Ortega and others, 1992). The scarcity of volcanic rocks

in the west may be due to erosion, whereas the more complete


early Tertiary sections in the east suggest that few of the late
Laramide intrusions vented. From this evidence and abundant
Laramide dates in south-central Mexico it appears that the early
Tertiary magmatism formed a rather wide and largely continuous arc somewhat inboard of the Pacific margin. For the most
part Laramide igneous centers are intermediate in composition
with subordinate felsic rocks. Hornblende-(pyroxene- and biotite-) bearing quartz diorites and granodiorites are the most
common intrusive rocks; altered andesites and local dacites
comprise the majority of the coeval volcanic lithologies. Late
rhyolites and quartz-feldspar porphyries are common in many
intrusive centers as in the Cananea District. Volcanic-poor
regions of central Sonora commonly contain strongly peraluminous monzogranitic intrusions of Laramide to mid-Tertiary
age (Roldan, 1991). These two-mica granitoids broadly correlate in age and composition with intrusive rocks of the Eocene
Wilderness Suite of southern Arizona (Keith and others, 1980),
and in a more general sense the magmatism of northwest Mexico has close parallels in the southwestern United States (Coney
and Reynolds, 1977; Miller and Barton, 1990).
Oligocene to early Miocene magmatism extended from the
voluminous ignimbrite-dominated volcanism of the Sierra Madre
Occidental to sparser and relatively volcanic-poor intrusive cen-

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTHER INTRUSION-RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

'~

.~---~
:. ". 'J"I.'I ,.-. .
:;':': ' ..

<l

:': }\

'~
<.;: "
1
1>

V'
~

"I,),

.'
-

Laramide
Magmatism
(80-40 Ma)

.. '.:
'

',; ,

491

" .

>i

~,~~
,

/ .
"",>t:. ,\\
,,
f
....
... .

"

\'~'""

" .~

~~ . ~

II
II

Extrusive
Intrusive

Geology modified from Ortega and others, 1992


Figure 3. Laramide (-80-40 Ma) volcanic and intrusive rocks of Mexico. Modified from Ortega and others (1992).

ters to the east. South of the trans-Mexican volcanic zone, midTertiary and younger magmas in the Sierra Madre del Sur form
a composite arc of mainly intermediate compositions (MoranZenteno, 1990). In the Sierra Madre Occidental, ignimbrites
from multiple centers coalesce to form a nearly continuous volcanic pile from ~outhern Arizona to the trans-Mexican volcanic
belt (fig. 4). This sequence is variably disrupted by Tertiary extension (Henry and Aranda-Gomez, 1992). The lower volcanic
series of the Sierra Madre Occidental is regionally propylitized
and hosts innumerable epithermal vein-type deposits (Wisser,
1966). Felsic porphyritic intrusions have been documented in a
few areas in the Sierra Madre Occidental, and many felsic porphyries of a variety of compositional types are known to the east
(Megaw and others, 1988). The less abundant central and eastern igneous suites range from metaluminous rhyolites, felsites,
and biotite granites, including some topaz rhyolites in the central and eastern parts of the country (Ruiz, 1985), to peralkaline
quartz-saturated to undersaturated rocks that mainly occur in the
northeast (McAnulty and others, 1963). The latter intrusive
suites are distinctively felsic and typically have characteristic
associated element suites.
In overview, Mexico has a complex geological history that
produced and variably preserved igneous rocks of a wide variety
of compositions. Pre-Cretaceous suites are either plutonic or

II

marine volcanic and have little associated mineralization. Cretaceous through early Tertiary rocks show a progression in composition and space with time, beginning with deeper exposures
of mainly intermediate composition rocks in the west and progressing to a more shallowly exposed intermediate-felsic suite
in the main Laramide arc. This suite contains the majority of
porphyry copper and molybdenum-tungsten occurrences in the
northern half of the country. Iron-rich systems are predominantly with the older and western rocks of Jurassic and younger
age except for volcanic-related felsic systems along the eastern
fringe of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Igneous centers of midTertiary to Pliocene age also have abundant associated mineralization. In the Sierra Madre del Sur epithermal deposits and
many copper occurrences occur with intermediate composition
volcano-plutonic complexes, whereas in the north volcanichosted epithermal and carbonate-hosted replacement deposits
occur with predominantly fel sic centers.
Types of Intrusion-Related Mineralization
Intrusion-related mineralization can be classified by metal
contents, associated igneous compositions, alteration types, and
structural styles. Table 1 gives our classification based on these
characteristics. Specific information has been compiled on igne-

M. D. BARTON, 1. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

492

Post-Laramide
Magmatism
(40-20 Ma)

II Extrusive
II Intrusive
Figure 4. Mid-Tertiary (-40-20 Ma) volcanic and intrusive rocks of Mexico. Modified from Ortega and others (1992).

ous rocks, country rocks, mineralization, alteration, tonnage and


grade of metals, references, and additional comments for about
50 districts (table 2). These districts are shown in figure 5 along
with the generalized distribution of igneous rocks. As with igneous-related deposits worldwide, there is a considerable variety
within classes and many alternative classification schemes
might be used. Most Mexican deposits are associated with intermediate to felsic subalkaline rocks, but a few are associated with
peraluminous or peralkaline rocks. Later in this paper we interpret these systematic relationships in terms of compositional,
preservational, and provincial controls.
Mexican copper systems can be divided into hornblendebiotite granodiorite-granite-related (equivalent to quartz monzonite-type) and pyroxene-hornblende diorite-granodiorite-related
types (equivalent to diorite-type). Iron replacement and skarn
deposits with accessory gold and copper are associated with
dioritic to syenitic intrusions and apparently represent a more
mafic type of hydrothermal system, but it is also possible that
they may represent the deeper equivalents of diorite-type systems just as molybdenum- and tungsten-bearing skarn or greisen
systems may be the deeper equivalents of the quartz-monzonite
type. Shallow portions of intermediate to felsic porphyry-type
systems may be represented by gold-silver (copper-zinc-Iead)
districts of the Batopilas (quartz diorite, andesite) and Mulatos

(dacite, rhyolite) types (table I). In strongly felsic igneous systems, porphyry-type mineralization (for example, molybdenumrich) has not been described in Mexico, however the zinclead-si lver-fluorine suite associated with hypabyssal intrusions
(for example, Bolanos) and deeper stocks (for example, San
Martin) reflect a similar variation in style with depth. As noted
below, the relationships between porphyry mineralization and
various other kinds of ore deposits is tantalizing but not established (Sillitoe, 1973).
In the following sections we discuss the characteristics of
these groupings of deposits with an emphasis on igneous compositions and characteristics of mineralization. These relationships are summarized using a simple classification of igneous
rocks and oxygen and sulfur fugacity (fig. 6). These diagrams
provide a consistent framework to compare deposits, although
in most cases rock types and mineral assemblages are evaluated
on the basis of rather sketchy information.
COPPER-RICH PORPHYRY AND SKARN
MINERALIZATION
We have identified over 600 mining districts in Mexico associated with igneous rocks that have copper as a major commodity. Of these, more than 100 are sufficiently well described

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTH ER INTRUS ION-RELATED MINER ALIZATION IN MEXICO

493

Table I. Generalized characteristics of intrusion-related mineralization


Deposit Type I
[example]

Associated Igneous Rocks


(lUGS)

Cu(-Mo-Zn)
[Cananea, SON]
C u(-Au-Fe)
[EI Arco, BC]
Mo( -Cu-W)
[Cumobabi, SON]
We-Mol
[San Nicolas, SON]
Zn-Pb-Ag( -Cu-F -Sn)
[San Marti n, ZAC]
Ag-Au(-Zn-F-Sn)
[Bolanos, JALJ

bi-hbl-mt granodiorite to bi
monzogranite porphyry
px-hbl-qtz diorite to bi-hbl
granodio rite porphyry
bi granodiorite to bi granite
porphyry
bit -hbl) granodiorite to
mu-bi granite
bi granodio rite to (bi)
rhyolite porphyry
(bi) rhyolite

Ag-Au(-Cu-Zn-Pb)
[Batopilas, CHI]
Au-Ag(-Cu)
[Mulatos, SON]
F(-Be-Sn-Mo)
[Aguachi le, COAl
Fe(-Au-Cu)
[Pena Colorada, JAL]
Fe(-R EE)
[Cerro de Mercado, OUR]

px-bi-qtz diorite to bi
granodiorite porphyry
bi-mt(-hbl) dacite to bi
rhyolite
rieb sye nite or bi qtz latite to
(bi -) alkali rhyolite
px-hbl diorite to (bi) qtz
monzonite
px-mt qtz latite to hbl-mt
rhyolite

Mineralization
& Alteration

Time-space distribution
(see also fig. 5)

stockwork Cu wi Kf-qz/ser-py;
Zn skarn
stockwork Cu wi bi-Kf-mtl
chl-py-se r; Fe skarn
stockwork/pegmatitic Mo wi
Kf-qtz-mu-p)'
We-Mol skarns, pegmatite &
greisen (mu-qtz) We-Mol
Zn-Pb-A g( -Cu) ska rn &
replacement; stockwork qtz
Ag-Au(-Zn -Pb- Cu-F) veins in
volcanic rocks; centra l C u- Sn in
rhyolitic plu gs
Ag-Au(-Pb-Zn) qtz-carb vein &
replacement; stockwork Cu
Au(-Cu-Ag) advanced argillic &
sericitic zones
ca rbonate replacement ll-qtzBe,
( igneous Sn, Mo, topaz)
Fe Cu skarn wi Na- (K-)
silicate alteration
mass ive hm(after mt) (volcanic'!)
wi Na-pyroxene to Qz-clay-apat

Laramide, minor pre-Laramide


& Tertiary; inboard western
pre-La ram ide & Tertiary
(S W Mex ico); outboa rd western
Laramide; inboard western
pre-Laramide & Laramide;
western
Tertiary, minor Laramide;
north-centra l
Tertiary; central

pre- Laramide & Tertiary;


inboard western & north-central
Tertiary; inboa rd western
Tertiary; north-central & east
pre-Laramide and Laramide;
outboard western
Tertiary; north-central

*Abbreviatioms consistent with table 2.

Selected Intrusion-related Deposits

I
~
~

'?

- more felsic

Fe(-Au-Cu)
(dior-syen)

ffiJ

C (M Z)

disseminated

breccia skarn

W
A

(g~d--gr ~;rp~)

W(-Mo)

Mo(-Cu-W)

Zn-Pb-Ag(-Cu
-F-Sn) (gr-rhy)
Fe (-REE)

Ag-Au(-Cu-Zn V
-Pb) (dior-grd)
Au-Ag(-Cu)
/\
(dacite porph)

L:,.

(grd-gr)
(gr porph)

(rhyolite)

F(-Be-Sn-Mo)
(rhyolite)

590
kilometers

Mesozoic and
Tertiary Magmatism

1 <1Middle Tertiary (40-20 Ma)


I 1Laramide (80-40 Ma)
1 <1 pre-Laramide (180-80 Ma)

Detailed district summaries in table 2


Figure 5. Generalized distribution of Mesozoic and Cenozoic magmatism and the intrustion-related ore deposits described in table 2.

(\

lqo<l

494

M. D. BARTON, J. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

450C

Qz

o~--,---------------~

B.I----:ri

~
bJ)
o
.-<

Cp

-5

, Il2. '3- \~
rhyolite,
grar:Jite

".

~'"6 \ <;1.

\ ~~ . ~

\ \~ .\

\ 1

( Qz/~;it~, \
Q~ :<%Q
i Qz monzonite \ monzodiorite \'~...
.......... ..... .... ...... ..... .. .......... , ..... .. ... andeslte ..
e s enite i latite monzonite - monzodiorite '.

Kf

andesile, b,{salt.Pc
diorite, gabbro

-35

-30

-25

logio2

Figure 6. Compositional framework for comparison 01' deposits. A. Simplified lUGS diagram showing the names used in this paper. B. Limiting

sulfidation-oxidation assemblages for classifying higher-temperat ure (-450C)


and lower-temperature (-300C) alteration mineral assemblages.

to fit into the broad category of porphyry copper and closely related deposits (fig. 7; table 3). Common features of these districts include enrichment in copper, a close association in space
and presumably in time with magmatism , and extensive hydrothermal alteration, The styles of mineralization may be broadly
divided into disseminated, breccia pipe, and skarn (figs. 5 and
7). In many cases, two or three of these types occur within the
same district. Associated metals include combinations of molybdenum, gold, silver, tungsten, zinc, and lead. Hydrolytic alteration of quartzofeldspathic rocks is the most common type of
alteration, but alkali-exchange alteration, skarn, and various
hypogene and supergene clay alteration types are also widespread. Mineralization occurs with dioritic to granodioritic intrusions which most commonly take the fonn of composite
stocks with one or more strongly porphyritic phases.

ing. Molybdenum-enriched copper deposits conta;n subordinate


zinc, silver, and tungsten. Gold may be present but is generally
in low concentrations (less than 0.2 grams per tonne). Molybdenum-bearing deposits are most common in northwestern Mexico. These systems, which include districts like Cananea, are
large and have both disseminated and breccia pipe type mineralization. Metals in these systems zone outward to base metals,
commonly zinc-copper skarns (fig. 8). Gold-bearing copper deposits are less common. The best described example is EI Arco
in Baja California which contains over 0.3 gram gold per tonne
but lacks other metals (table 2). Gold-bearing copper deposits
generally contain greater than 0.2 gram gold per tonne with
minor molybdenum and other metals.
Supergene enrichment is best developed in northern
Mexico (Sillitoe, 1976) and is a factor in governing the economics of porphyry copper district production (Titley, 1982). This
distribution may be a consequence of climatological, chronological , and petrological factors. The older mineralization of
northern Mexico may be more extensively enriched because
(I) the arid environment is better suited for producing enrichment than are the humid, tropical climates of southern Mexico;
(2) post-Laramide stable and extensional environments in the
nOl1h provided a setting for extensive weathering, enrichment,
and preservation (perhaps in several cycles) that was lacking in
the south; and (3) the more felsic systems of the n0l1h contain
more extensive hydrolytic alteration with abundant pyrite and
thus may have been better progenitors for supergene chalcocite.
For example, the Cananea District contains very large hypogene
and supergene copper resources, but most production comes
from thick chalcocite blankets developed in areas of overlap-

Metals
Although variable but economically significant concentrations of molybdenum, silver, gold, tungsten, and zinc are present
in some deposits, copper is the dominant metal in these systems.
Grades are poorly known for most districts (table 2), Distinctions between supergene and hypogene grades are rarely made.
It is evident that the higher copper grades in large tonnage deposits are supergene (Sillitoe, 1976), yet moderate tonnages of
high hypogene grades (greater than 2 percent copper) are common in breccia pipes and skarns as in the Cananea District (fig.
8; table 2). Although many copper occun'ences lack repot1ed
molybdenum or gold, Mexican porphyry copper deposits
broadly fall into two types: molybdenum-bearing and gold-bear-

TABLE 2. Description of Selected Intrusion-related Districts


District
Aguachile, Coah

Batopilas, Chih

Bermejal, Gro

Bismark, Chih

Bolanos, Jal

Igneous rocks I Age

Country rocks/ Age

M.in"rllJj7.a.tion I Alteration

Metals! Grade I Tonnage

Comments

Rhy phy ring


dikes(0.8km 2 ) +
Rieb- qtz-micro syenite
plug (0.36km 2 ) +
Analcite diabase dikes
(Teschenite)/ all TCmioplio

KL Issh (Boquillas)
*KL Ismarl (Buda)
KL clay-sandy Is (Del Rio)
*KE Is(Georgetown)
KE Is-sh (Kiamichi)
KE Is-dol-marl-chert (Edwards
Fm)
KE Is sh (Walnut-Comanche
Peak) (* =ore hosts)

Replacement mantos, bx and chimneys:


CaF2(1).CaF2(2j-Bertrandite-CaF2(3)
Zoning: Be concentrations highest near rhy
contact
Alteration mins.:. hematite, powellite,
adularIa, kaohmte, gypsum

Resources:
Aguachile deposit: 17Mt
(7oox70xI30m) @
81.6%CaF2; 12% CaC03; 5%
Si02; 0.1 % Be
Cuatro Palm as Body: 0.8Mt
(lOOxloox 30m) @ 70% CaF2;
18% CacOz; 5% SiOz
Tr:Y,Mo,Mn,Ti,V,Zr

Structure: The central part of the


Aguachile Dome subsided along a
ring fault about 1.6km in diameter
forming a cauldron. This fault was
the locu s of a rhy phy ring dike w/

2 separate intrusive
systems: SatevoTabonas aug dior phy,
aug-bi-tr mt microqtz
dior (51 Ma), and bi gd.
Dacite-ande are coeval
(xenoliths of volcs in
intrusions).
Cerro Colorado bi gr and
gd dornal porphyry
center (Laramide)

J(?) clastic and carb seds

Satevo Porphyry: 5 km 2 area of ser,


extensive qtz stkwrk veining, localized

Bi-gd pby dikes (50km


associmd to skarn + late
qtz monzonites (ass. to
veins)/ TeE

KE Is (Morelos)
KL Is+sh (Cuautla)
KL ss+sh (Mezcala)
TCmid rhy tuffs

Bi qtz monz-gd pby stock


and late rhy phy /
42.51.1 Ma (K-Ar)

KEcarb
KL TeE? minor intermediate
flows interbedded with cgl
seds
TeOlig rhy-rhyodacite (postmineral, overlying parts of
intrusive systems)
TeMio bs

Batopilas-Satevo:
Veins: 9.3 x 106 kg Ag, minor
gossan, discontinuous limonite, and argillic
Pb-Zn
Porphyry: >4Mt @ -.4%Cu
alt up to 4 km from central intrusive area
Veins:Qtz-Ag-tetrab/ten-cc-chl with minor
Gossan: <2Mt @ 2-3g/tAu, Cu
variable (leached)
sph-gn-Iaumontite-act-py. Zoned out from
pby and upward from Ag-sulfs to native Ag
Cerro Colorado:
Dissem py in intrusions w/ minor qtz-py
Porphyry stock with dissem
Cu+Au veins. Estimated
veinlets, tr rno and cpy. no chalcocite
resources without drilling:

KE ss, shaly Is, Is (Benigno


Fm)

Te bs

Sn-bearing sanidine-kspar Teol rhy tuffs


rhy domes /22Ma, intr.
Te23ma Bolanos ign
breccias (+ diorite plugs) Temio Borrotes tuff
TCmio Realito ign
TCmio Guasima and
TCmio Alacrlin rhy
Te22 Carbonera ign
TCmio Chimal tuff
Te21ma Huila bs
Temio S. Martin rhy
Tel. Mexitic ss

>-3x10 6t (@ -.3% Cu ..4R/t Au


Min. + Alteration: Skarngtj-ep); mt-ht-py- Reserves: 60Mt @ I g/tAu
cpy(Au)-aspy w/ musc-kaol-ep-chl
(l8Mt economic)
Veins;po-py-cpy-sph- (Ag)gn-aspy-FeOx w/ Production:
silic.
1941: 8900t @ 25g/tAu;
284g/tAg / 1944: 217001 @
21.7g/tAu; 202g/tAg
1949-56; O.13Mt @ 12g/tAu;
14Ig/tAg; 1.4%Pb;4.3%Cu
Skarn: proximal ad-gr-diop-ep-chl; distal
Reserves skarn: 8.5Mt @
woll and silic.
8.5%Zn; 0.6%Pb; 0.5%Cu;
Paragenesis: py-po-sph-aspy-gn-cpy-bn55g/tAg in skarn
Reserves mantos: ?Mt @
Bi/Se mins
Zoning: Zn(high Fe)-Cu skarn at depth; Zn3.5%PB; 4.0%Zn; I 55g/tAg;
Pb in central portion; distal Pb-Ag-Zn(low
<3%B i
Fe) massive sulfide replacemenL Pb-Ag vnls
cut qtz monz and rhy pby. Qtz monz shows
Kssic + weak scr-arg;
Rhy phy shows silic. + py
Alteration: silic-arg-propyl
Production:
Mineralogy: CaF2(1)-CaF2(2)-sph(Cu)182 million oz Ag
Reserves:
gn(Ag)-Ag sulfos-native Ag; chalco-A lacran Vein; 1.2Mt @
digenite(Agj-spec at depth
500g/tAg
Zoning: Bolanos Vein (core): Cu-Ag
-Escondida Vein; ?Mt@
Iguana Vein (fringe): Ag-Pb-Zn
109g/tAg; 12%Pb;2.5 %Cu
-Veta Rica; O.2Mt @ 800g/tAg
-Iguana Vein; 0.15Mt @
600g/tAg

References
Griffits and Cooley. 1978
McAnulty and others,
1963
-0

o;;0

a brecciated inner contact

-0

:r:

localizing the fluorspar deposits.


The dome is affected by strong
N60E .post-mineral faults.
Presently inactive

2 or more separate porphyry


deposits w/ distal Ag-cc-qtz high
grade vein systems zoned outside
porphyry (e.g., Satevo-Batopilas,
Cerro Colorado). Systems are
-lOkm apart with covered

Bagby, 1979
Wilkerson, 1983
Wilkerson and others,

1988

o-0
-0

en

;;0

CJ

o-l

intervals inbetween

Auriferous py-qtz stockworks at


Cerro Colorado

:r:

en

Presently inactive

Structure: NE-SW folding


Supergene enrichment of Au
Pre-feasibility and exploration
stage

-<
-<
n

;;0

;;0

Martinez and Fernandez,

1993
Ochoa and others, 1984

-l

;;0

(/)

(5
Z

;0

en
r

Skarn: on south flank of stock,


along major NW -trending structure
with pre, intra- , and post-mineral
movem ent

Penoles, unpubli shed


company data
Haps tonstall, 1994
Megaw, unpublished data

CJ
~

Z
en

Blind discovery Unoxidized, very


high Bi and Se, no Au
Began production in 1992

Structure:
I) E-W (premineral)
2) N60E (mineral)
3) N30E (mineral)
4) N-S (postrnineral)
Shut-down

2:i

en

;;0

r
N
Lyons, 1988a
Megaw, unpublished data

2:i
z

(5

Z
~

en

><

n
o

.p.
-0

V>

\I

..,.

Table 2. Description of selected intrusion-related districts (continued).


Cananea, Son

Bi-hbl Cuitaca Grd (100


km 2 ) /643 Ma (U-Pb,
zircon), Tinaja Diorite,
& mafic dikes
Bi-hbl qlZ-monz phy
plugs (20km 2) I
58.52.1 Ma (K-Ar, bi,
Colorada); 52.82.3 Ma
(K-Ar, ser, Teocalli)

pC Cananea granite
C Bolsa qlZile
C Abrigo Isdol
D Martin lSdol
M Escab. lSchert
IP Horquilla. lSdol, chert
!p-P Naco lSdol
T-J Elenita+ Hem. fel sic
volcs+ss
J(1) EI Torre syenite
K Mariquita mafic volcs &
Mesa intenn . volcanics

Cerro de Mercado, Carpintero Group:


Aguila med-gr. alk. mtDgo
hbl rhy tuff (>200km 2 )1
30.8Ma
Leona fine-gr. alk. mt-hbl
rhy domes +tuffsj
30.7Ma
Mercado Iron Mbr. (7
petrol. facies)
Tinaja px-hbl-mt qlZ latite
Santuario(l00km2) med.gr. aile. rhy tuff! 30.3Ma
Concepcion del
Oro, Zac

Cosala, Sin

Bi-hbl-mt gd & tonalite


(lOkm 2 )/4Ot1.2 Ma (KAr on bi) + kspar-bi
alaskite dikes

(lOOkm 2)1

Bi-hbl gd
57.71.2 Ma (K-Ar on
bi), 57.21.2 Ma (K-Ar
on hbl)
Hbl-mt dio, dacite phy
dikes & stocks /TeE
Bi-aplite (5km2) & alkali
gr (7km 2 )/Te

Cuatro Hermanos, Gd phy with peripheral bx


Son
pipes I KL-TeE

TeL cgl
KEls
TeE ande volcs (48-52Ma)
Temid Registro tuff (31.8Ma)
Temid Post Carpintero Tunal,
Sta.Maria,GaravitoTapias,Sa
!tito, Mimbres, and Soldado
Fms silic. tuffs (28.3Ma)
TeL Metates alk. bs
Qbs

JL Is (Zuluaga Fro)
JL limy sh (LaCaja)
KE Is (faraises-Cupido Fms)
Kmid Is chert (Cuesta Cura
Fro)
KL sh (Caracol Fro)
TeE .,de+rhy
Ter. cgl
KE metandesite
KE Is (fetameche)
TeE Is cgl
TeE ande, Thy, bx, volcaren.,
Is lenses
T"mid rhy + aug-ande (2329Ma)
TeL ol-bs(Hornillos)
TeE ande tuff
TeE rhy tuffs
TeE cgl

Skarn, manto , bx p ipes + di sse min ated:

Skarn: 1)gross-diopidocrase 2)addiopwoll(after chert); phlog-mt-py-cpysph-gn (after dol);hd-johan (after hI)


3)amph-py(cpy)qtzcc
Bx pipes: 4)Cc-qlZ-chl-sid- ser-pycpy1m osph, tetr ah ,g n- h t-ep- ch I-q lZ --c ovchalco (after skarn) & mtpycpylbn-sphpy-cpy-py- sph-gnch I, sid,cc,qtz, serp
mantos(after Is)
Disseminated: QSPK ss ic(at depth), both in
qlZ feldspar phorphyries and volcs
Skarn, hydro breccias, and Fe flows:
Alteration:
Skarn +bx(core); px(di-hd)-mt-cc
Argillic(margin); montrnor. after felds
Silicification(distal); qtz

'D

Production (10 1979):


Skarn: 15 2,090 t Cu
Breccia:762720 t Cu & 22700t
Mo Di ss :I ,355,190 t Cu
Total prod: 2.3Mt Cu & 0.02Mt
Mo
Reserve s: 12.9Mt Cu & 0.14Mt
Mo in di ss+bx pipes ; 0.18Mt
Cu & 0.36Mt Zn in skarn
Total reserves: 1.8Gt@ 0.7%Cu
(hyp -0.4 1), 0.02% Mo, 0.1
glt Au , and significant Ag, Au,
minor Pb in replacement ores.
43.3Mt @ 62%Fe, 0.05%Ti,
0.5 %1', 0.5%S produced.
lOOMt at 25.-50% Fe reserves.
Minor Sn (cassiterite) from
v e ins

Structure: I)Jurassic N61}-80W


Eli sa, Capote, and Tinaja hi gh
angle faults cut EI Torre, Elenita,
and Henrrietta Fms but not
overlying rocks. 2)TeLbasic
dikes+qtz monz plugs intrude
along N40E and N61}-80W trends.
3)15Northeast tilting of Mesa Fm
and Bx pipes durung B&R?

Mein ert, 1982


Bushnell , 1988
Wodzicki, 1992
Zurcher, unpublished data

Active mine
Two caldera epi sodes

Tabular ore bodies and large bx


areas with magnetite matrix.
Structures control much of

Lyons, 1988b
McDowell and Keizer,
1977
Authors, unpubli shed data

3::
0

mineralization

Shut down

Mineralization facie s:

1)Martite; px-mt-cc-apat/ht
2)Sandy Mt; mt-apat/ht
3)Blocky; bHgyp,bar,ht
4 )Iron Ox.; mt-ht dikes
5)Breccia; ht+rhy fiags
6)Layered Ht; fine-gr ht
7lLarninated Htj fine-sr euhedral ht Elates
Skarn:
Alteration: ad,gr-diop-hd(Mn)-zoisite-tremscap-act-idocrase-ep-woll-chl-ilvaite
Ore: spec-mt-ht-py-po-py-cpy-enargitetetrah-sph-bism-py-adul
Phy Cu: 1

Supe rge ne enrichme nt very


important

OJ

:J>

;0

....,

0
~

,....

c:l
Reserves: 2Mt @2%Cu; 1.6 glt
Au

Main Mine: Azules open pit, Znchimney at nearby Aranzazu mine


Partial control: silication travelled

Buseck, 1966
Ohmoto and others, 1966
Authors, unpublished data

farther where bedding was normal


to the igneous contact
Filling T & S: >350C (qlZ) & 613% eq. NaC!

SUuctUIC: E- W trending folding.

followed by NW and NE Laramide


and N40W B&R faulting.

.rn
r

C'
;0

(?:Togres s

Estim81ed Skarn Prod.: 15 MI(1)


@ 4.1 %Cu; 25.5%Zn;
15.2%Pb; 1400g/tAg;
3.4g/tAu
ESlimulCd Repl. Prod.: 5 MI(7)
@ 2.5 %Cu; 4.K%Zn; 5.7% l'b;
nag/tAg; I g/tAu
Estimated Vein Prod: 2 Mt(7) @
0.9%Cu; 1.9%Zn; 3.6%Pb;
32708/t!\-8i 1. 2 S/tAu
Mineralization: eu-rno sulfides erratically
Oxide ore: 9O-212Mt @
distributed in bx pipes, stkwk of chalco, and 0.42%Cu, 0.022%Mo
Cu-sulfate min. in cgl. Au present in
Sulfate ore: IOMt @ 0.43%Cu,
peripheral bx pipes
0.035%Mo, and 4g1tAg

);!

Shut down, rc -evaluation in

Skarn, replacement, veins, disseminated(?):


Skarn (Nuestra Seiiora, Promontorio): gt-abmtlht-aspy-py-sph-cpy(mo, chalco,cov)gn-py-cpy-argent-ep-chl-cc
Replacement(Marnut, Verde): mt/ht-po-py/
as py- gn -sph -c py -gn -tetr ah -py-aspy -h t
Vein (Proveedora, Bolaiios): Kspar-mt-pygn(Ag)-sph-cpy-argentAu-qlZ-tour
Dissem (Cerro San Rafael): 75%qtz,25%ser +
E~ bxwk in 9 12 E!!~ !fault-controlledl

CI1

C
0

Cibula, 1975
ZUrcher, unpublished data

:t
rn

;0

:J>
Z
0

Exploration stage

:-0
A

3::
3::

Reserves based on widely-spaced


drilling. Active exp loration

presently underway

Perez-Segura, 1985
Sillitoe, 1976
Anonymous, 1993

rn

Cl

Alteration: Kssic l siHc.

Cumobabi, Son

QlZ-bt monz phy (63.1


1.7XI km 2 ) accessory
mtHp
Rby qlZ phy
Bt dior phy (565 .1)
Microgranite grad ing

down into gd and qtz


monz (55 .60.3)
Pegmatite (qlZ bx)

KL-TeE7 calc-alkaline andes


flows (200m thick) overlain
by dac flows (75m) wilh
porphyritic qlZ-ri ch rhy
caps. Volcs may be coeval
with intru sive complex

>35 bx qlZ- moly pipes occuring over 12 km 2


area in irregular near vertical (>400m deep)
ore pipes.
Outward zoning from kspar+qlZ+mocpy
(slrong Kssic alt) core to anhydrite-serqt7.tounnpysid calCrarc fir. rim

Production: Mo-Cu ore 1.5 Mt


@ 0.5%Mo, 0.1 %Cu (made Mo
concentrate)
Reserves: I 0 Mt @ 0.22% Mo,
0.25% Cu
Resources: 20 Mt @ 0.1 % Mo

Fluid inclusions: 300-480C, three


stages of fluid injection bx with
NaC! varying from 5-10 up to 2950wt%
Became Mexico's first major Mo

mine in August 1980


Curnobabi com es from "Place of'Cu-Mo
Re-evaluation underway

Cendejas and Barcenas,


1978
Sutulov, 1982
Perez, 1985
Roldan, 1979
Scherkenbach and
Sawkins, 1982
Sche rk enbach and oth ers ,

1985

.s

Table 2. Description of' selected intrusion related districts (continued).


~

EIArco. BCN

Hbl monzodiorite phy (l


km 2 ), qtz-monz phy
stock (3 km2)/107 Ma
Post-ore diabase dikes

EI Realito, Gto

Gr plugs
Rhyodacite Bx / 30 Ma
(K-Ar)

EI Triunfo, BCS

Hbl-(bi) diorite (>9km2)/


KL
Bi-(hbl) granodiorite (4
km2)/KL
Uncertain association of
these or other intrusions
to mineralization

Chalco blanket over cpy vnlt stkwk wI. minor 660Mt of 0.6%Cu and O.3g1t
Superimposed low grade
rno vnts.
metamorphism assoc with
Au. Small Au pods <80m wide
Siliceous core/ potassic/ prop/ pyrite halo:
southern edge of Baja Peninsula
have >.4 gJt Au, eu enriched in
Batholith. K-Ar dates vary from
qtz-kspar-py-mt-cpy-mo vnts w/ halo of qtz- cc cap upper 60 m then 20 m
chl-ep-cc-ab.
tran sition, 250m tabular
114 to 101 Ma with youngest ones
volcanosedimentary 55 and
Elevated geochem anomaly in Cu , Mo, Au
on ser. Half of deposit covered by
subhorizontal cpy ore body,
si lt st
(stream seds, voles, and ocotillo plants)
partly open at depth w/2% cpy alluvium
JL Nazas Fm
extends 2 km from de~its
Presentl~ inactive
h~~gene srades consistent
Chimneys (Replacement + karst filling @
Lithologic Control: contact
3.3 Mt@ 81 % CaF2
pC, T, and J metaseds.
180-220"C): Flr-cc, qtz, py
between K Is and Te voles
J, K Is-sh (Doctor - Peiia Fms)
Initially mining concentrated
Alteration: kaol + FeOx in voles.
Structure: N75E,90; pre-min. NW,
TCmid ignimbrites +
on Hg
SE faulting; NW-SE folding; bx
volcaniclastic s
Veins:Qtz-As-asp-tetrahiten-cc-chl with
Old vein mining camp, historic Structurally control Ag veins strike
PZ? + MZ lower greenscbist
NE and NW with bonanza ore
minor sph-gn-Iaumontite-act-py. Extinct
production >200,000 oz Au,
metamorphosed siltstoneAg camp noted for large As alteration halos
shoots at flexures and structure
>4 M oz Ag from high grade
marl
intersections
Spotty stkwk py-qtz vein systems may be
qtz-chl-cc veins
KE ande volcanoseds.(rare)
local porphyry system but relation to Ag-As Reserves: ?
TeMio-Plio ande dikes (postveins uncertain
mineraL)
Intrusions have local weak ser with larger
Teplio congl
porp alt although prop may unrelated to
K marine

55 ,

sh, calcareous

siltst, Is
K? hbl ande massive flows
with interbedded

Barthelmy, 1974
Echavarri and Rangin,
1978
Silva, 1983

-0

0
Ordoiiez, 1986

Consejo de Recursos
Minerales, unpublished
reports
Menchaca, 1985
Staude, unpublished data

Fresni llo, Zac.

Qtz monz, gd phy, & qtz


trachite phy dikes (very
limited outcrops)!32 Ma

Guadalcazar, SLP

Tourm-musc-moly
granite; numerous aplite

and pegmatite dikes

KE gw (Valdecaiias)
KE sh,marl,silts, micrite, ss
(Plateros)
KE ande bx,pillow bs,!ss,ls
(Chilitos)
KE lSsh (Fortuna)
KE Is (Cerro Gordo)
KL calcareous seds(Caracol)
TeE cgl (fresnillo)
Teolig rhy tuffs
TeL bs tuffs

KE Is, shaly marl, limy sh,


fossilferous Is broad ly
warped

tounn, mo, cass

Guazapares, Chih

Bi dacite and rhyodacite,


possibly minor dacite
stocks (Oligo?X4 km 2 ),
overlying fresb bi rby
tuffs

TPaleo-Olig o ? ss and caldera


fill
KE Is which is not exposed in
the mine area

Disseminated auriferous py in strong ly


silicified alunite-pyroph-kaol dacitic volcs.
Minor sph, gn, tetrab/ten, trace cpy in post
advanced arg veins.
Prevasive advanced arg alL over deeper qtzpy-Au-{Cu sulfosalt) structurally controlled
mineralization

-0
-0

tT1

'"

"
::r:

tT1

Production:
10Kt Ag; 18t Au; 0.7Mt Pb;
0.9Mt Zn; 74Kt Cu
Reserves 1926-1990: 25.4Mt
@ 0.61g1tAu; 313g/tAg;
2.8%Pb;3.7%Zn;0.3%Cu
S. Niiio vein alone (since 1975
discov.): 1.8mt @ 801g1tAg;
0.48g/tAu; 0.41 %Pb;
0.81 %Zn; 0.03%Cu

Santo Niiio(N75E): Three structural


zones identified, all relaled to
oblique deformation and dextral
strike-slip. Pinching and swelling
toward W, cymoid loops in Central
part, and step en-echelon toward E
Cueva Santa(N70W)
Many veins, including Santo Niiio
pinch out before reaching surface
Presently active

Macdonald and others,


1986
Gemmel and others, 1988
Simmons and others,

1988
Ruvalcaba and Thompson,
1988
Albinson, 1988
Simmons, 1991
Authors, unpublished data

'"...,Z
'"

c:::

(/)

(3
Z

tT1

tT1

w/ Hg,Sb, Mn; underground hd-ax skarn


overprinted by massive sulfides. The ligbt
sulfide min. bas 1m env. of chal, qtz, clay.
Kaolalun occurs above blind orebodies
Tabular, lenticular and pipe-like skarn and
Cu-Mo-Sn-{Au), abundant Hg
replacement vns of py, aspy, gn, sph, cpy,
prospects in area
mo, stib, gold, aeant, tetrab , polybastite,
mal, azUT, chrys
Alt is marblized Is and skarn of ad, qtz,
vesuv, CPt diop, danboro axinite, tounn , fIr,
Granite is kaol and ser alt with common

Alteration: minor surface alt. as qtz-cc veins

ce, barite

-0

0...,

exposed intrusions or veins

Surface rare gossans


Cueva Santa Mantos & chimneys(l) + Santo
Nino veins(2):
1) Heavy sulfide (proximal, early); gn-sphcpy-py-Ag sulfosalts
2) Ligbt sulfide (distal, late); py-aspy+sphgn-pyrarg+py-aspy+cpy-aspy-tetrabarglacan-steph-marc-proust-peraceite( Sb)po(?)-polyb
Zoning: SE-ward from stock more Ag and less
Zn-Pb; above stock more Ag than Zn-Pb

'"::r:-<
'-<"
n

"Z

r'"
N
$:
tT1

Mineralization related to F-ricb


Wiuich, 1920
moly granite. Hg deposits present Witticb and Ragotzy,
zoned outward from skarn with
1921
Foshag and Fries, 1942
anhy, gyp, sulfur, dol, bar, flr
Massive sulfide skarns, massive

granitic intrusion
inactive
Possible domaI intrusive centers

Z
$:

Presentl~

Dissem:>4Mt @ 80 glt Ag,


0.8g1t Au (large resource below may be capping portion of
advanced arg cap)
porphyry-related system.
Exploration stage
Vein: base metal >3Mt @ 220
glt Ag, 3% Zn, 2% Pb. Ag-Au
qtz veins -IMt of 3 glt Au,
200 gft Ag

(3

fluorite pods, cass and tourm veins


occur in and along contact with

Gonzalez Reyna, 1956a


Staude, unpublished data

tT1

n
0

..,.
-0
-.J

.l>-

Table 2. Description of selected intrusion-related districts (continued).


Inguaran, Mich

8 intrusive qLZ monz bx


pipes (O.31an 2 )1 35 .6
0.8 Ma (K-Ar bi)
Qtz diorite & diorite
intruding tonalites,
andesites, rhyolites
Ande dikes (lOm wide) and
flows

La Perla, Chih

La Verde, Mich

Las Cuevas, SLP

KL ande ruff
KE gr-gd-gd phy batholith!
lOOIO Ma
Q Basalt

Hbl-cpx-opx- san-ilm calc KE Is + sh (not exposed in


alkaline, high K , andesmine)
dac-rhy sequence (29-30
TeOlig bi-san rhy and augiteMa)
hbl ande tuff + bs.
Fe-ore hosted in
vilrophyre of
porphyritic rhyodac now

Hbl-qtz diorite phy stock!


33.40.7 Ma (K-Ar on
hbl)
Bi-qtz fspar stock +
collapse bx
Qtz-anorth. peg. (aplite)

High K, calc-alkalic rhy


bx/ 29.65O.3 Ma (K-Ar,
Kspar + qlZ, whole rock)
& 32.72.4 Ma (Rb-Sr,
whole rock)

KL hbl-gd-qtz diorite
batholith
KLande ruff
Tecgl
Q volcanic cones

KE Is-dolchert,sh (Doctores
Fm)
KE shaly Is-sh (Soyatal Fm)
KE sh (Capas Cllrdenas)
Te ande n. (30Ma)
Te dacite IlIff(25Ma)

Las Salinas, Gro

Pz metaseds
QIZ monz phy stock!
62.8i1.4 Ma (K-Ar ....) + Pz? ande
intrusive bxs
Te ande phy dikes

Las Truchas,
Mich.

Augite-hbl-bi diorite + qtz


diorite + gd (4Okm2)1
TOE
Bi-gr(aplite) dikesl TeE

KEls
TeE augite-ande volcanoseds.
Temid hbl-ande dikes & flows

Equigran bi gd/gr (3km2),


36.6 iO.8 (K-Ar on bi 1)
+ andesite porphyry dike
swarm

KE Benevides sh
KE Lorna de Plala Is

Los Reyes, Chih

'D
00

Injection Bxs + veins :


Propyl.(bx): chl-ep-cc-qtz-tour-m ontchabazite; Mineral.: cpy-qtz(350C; 11.924.5% eq. NaCI F.l.)-cc-act-e p- scheelite
(320C F.l.}-py
Sericitic(widespread): qtz-ser
Exotic: mal-chrys.
Breccias: NB, Bolas, San Pedro, San
Aparicio, San Juan, San Luis, Los Chicos,
Guadalupe

NB Brecc ia: 7 Mt @ 1.0-

Specularite, martite, minor


mt+ap+qtz+cc+gyp+ clay+nuorite.
Late alt.: mont, qtz, nr, ap, alkali feldpar
Hydrothermal nuids shallow, <440C
possible hydrothermal origin of rnin.(Van
Allen, '78). Arg selective along vitrophyre
coinciding with ore horizons.
Subborizontal manto ore bodies I km x
>200m, ul! to >15m thick
Collapse bx + veins:
Potassic: Kspar-chl-mont-qtz-tour-cc-I cpy
(rim)-2 bn (core)-ep-spec-cc-aspy-(tenn}mo-gyp
Propyl.: ep-chI-cc-ab-cpy-py-po
Exotic: mal-azur-chrys- + ht
Intrusive events:
I) Barren phase I bx: 250m wide wI diorite
frags
2) Phase 2 bx: qtz diorite, qtz fspar, and
aplite frags
3) Phase 3 bx: aU rock + ande fr!!l!s
Massive repl.(60%) and open space bx
filling(40%): CaF2-cc-qtz(chalcedony)
Zoning: qtz incr. toward the rhy bx, cc incr.
toward the Is
A1teration(Rhy bx): kaol of kspar and silic.
ofhx gm
Exotic: Mn + Fe oxides
Dissem. + stockwork: Sericitic: qtz-ser-pytour-cpy Propyl.: chl-ep-py

Massive ore in volc layer: 47


Mt@ 67% Fe (est. 1961)

Skarn:
ad-hd-plag-(mt}-ht(martite)-qtz-amph-py-epKspar-bi (iserpentine , talc)
Mainly endoskam
Orebodies: Volcancito, VolcAn, Las Truchas,
EI Mango, Carnpamento, Sta. Clara, La
Bandera, Potrero de T anila, Leopardo,
Valverde, E I Tubo, Bord6n
Gtlpx I ep-mt-chl CU(W) skarn cut by N-S
structures with sulfides (py-cpy-bn (chalco)
+ scheelite)
Stock is fresh

1.4%Cu; 0.02-0.04 %W03

Very minor superg . e nr.


Morphology of AlB bx: 300x I 00m
by 200m deep. Rounded to
subrounded frags suggesting gas
flux. The amount of rock flour
indicates the degree of
metallization (little-higher grade)
Structure: N40E&NIOW preore
faults; N60E post min. fault
horizontally displaced AlB bx
(87 Sr/ 86S r )0=0.7043
Mined out
Igneous rocks have slrong Eu
anomaly, LREE enriched.
High grade mined out
Shutdown

Sawkins , 1979
Damon and others, 1981
Sillitoe. 1976
O soria and others, 1991

Flores, 1951
VanAllen, 1978
Anonymous, 1974
Campbell, 1977
Spaulding, 1985

0
til

llO Mt@ 0.7%Cu .and cobalt


occurrence

No supergene enrichm.
Ore-grade cpy in propyl. alL
Strucrure: late NE faulting wI minor
displ.
Morphology: West Hill;
300x700m by 200m depth, East
Hill; 400x600m by 200m depth
(87 Sr/ 86 Sr)0=0.7055
Not presently in production

Damon and others, 1981


Sillitoe, 1976
Coochey and Eckman,
1978

0
2

,....
0
VJ

C
0

otrl

rN

Grade: 76%CaF2
Tonnage: 80Mt

Min. control: contact between Is


and rhyolite bx
TH Auid Inclusions: 60-130C, 0%
eq. NaCI
(87Sr/86Sr)0=0.70603
Re-evaluauon underway

Ru iz and others, 1980

::c

trl

;;0

2
0

Grade and Tonnage: ?

Also known as Copper King


Minor supergene enr.
(87Sr/86Sr)0=0.7041

Damon and others, 1983


Sillitoe, 1976

Massive arc: 67 Mt @ 63.5 %


total Fe

Structure: E-W faults, minor di spl.;


breccia
Deposit morphology: roof pendant
Re-evaluauon underway

Anaconda, 1980,
unpublished data
Mapes, 1991

Cu min. in structures cUlting skarn


Inactive at present

Gonzalez Reyna, 1956a


Damon and others, 1983
Megaw, unpublished data
Spurr, 1926

0.5 Mt @ 3% Cu, 7 g Ag from


skarn (2-18 Mt reserve of 2%
Cu)

c;;0 '
n

:-0

?'

s:
s:trl
0

::E

.s

Table 2. Description of selected intrusio n-related districts (continued).


II'

Magallanes, Son

Malpica, Sin

Hybabyssal kspar-alrrhy
dome, small Mo-F-Au
(Sn) rhy phy stock,
abundant NW striking
rhy dikes (1.5 x 2 km)1
l.ate OIig-Early Mio

Hbl-bi-mt-sph qtz dioriteadamel-gd(lookm2 ) I


54.2 1.2 (K-Ar hbl) + 3
tour-act bx pipes
Aplite Dikes, hbl-bi ande
phy dikes I TeE

Bi-mthbl dacite phy


dikes (OIig?)
Interlayered bi-mt( -hbl)
dacite flows and fbi
~olitic tuffs I 32-30Ma
( ArP9Ar bi)
Nacozari District, Florida-Barrigon: QtzSon
mooz phy / (8 km 2)
53Ma, bi-mt gd phy
Caridad:
Gd and qtz-monz stocks
(55Ma) wI earlier qtz-dior
phy Ser in hydro bx (50.
54.31.2)
Pilares:
Bi gd intrusive bx blocks
High-silica rhy phy dikes
Naica, Chih
and sills w/K20> NazO
& low MgO, CaO/26 Ma
Mulatos, Son

pC Mestenas granite & Pinal


sc h
C Bolsa qtzite
M Escab. lSchert
IPenn-P Naco lSdol
Pi. Is + cgl
KE BisbeeGp
KL Cabullona Gp
interstratified with Mesa
mafic-interm voles
Tepaleo gd-gr-dior composite
Sonora batholith
TCOligo-Mio flow banded
Sierra Madre ignimbrite
KL hbl-bi dac phy
KL ande phy
TeE devitr lithic tuff

F-Mo-Au mineralization associated with

stkwk vn, N45W&N27E normal faults, and


intrusive-extrusive vole bxs. Dissem py,
fluorite, qtz with minor calcite, cassiterite,
Fe-oxides. Patchy sil icification and halo of
arg illic, iIlitic and mont alteration zones

which extend out along NW and NE fracture


sets up to >2 km

KE ss
KL gd batholith older
intrusive episode
K-Te dacite-rhy tuffs with
thicker andes flows and
clastic seds

Consejo de Recursos Minerales


undertook: extensive surface

geochemistry, mapping and


completed 4 drill holes which
penetrated >200 m of rhy vole
stratigraphy with stkwk Au-pysilica vns
Inactive since early 1900's,
presently in exploration stage

Arriaga and others, 1993


Cardenas, 1993
Zurcher, unpublished data

(3
;0
"0

::r:
-<
;0
-<

n
Breccia filling +stockwork:
Alteration:
Silicif.(core): tour-qtzcpy-pyact
Propyl.(halo): chl-ep-ser-tour-qtz-cc + exotic
min .

MZE? qtz arenite and sh


KL-TeE? undated fine-medium
grained weathered gd
KL-TeE? undated ande flows
minor interbedded tuffs

Low grade bulk mineable gold


reserve of 10Mt @1.5 g/t Au &
20g/t Ag. Grade eratic and
strongly fracture and bx
controlled. Grades up to 35
g/tAu and 1200g/t Ag in
vein lets

Sericitic (local): qtz-ser-c1ay


Potassic (at depth): bi-Kspar-cpy-pyscheelite
Mineralization:
Exotic: malach + malaconite chrys.
Veins of varying assemblages with qtz-alunkaol-pyroph-pyenargAu in the early
paragenesis cut by qtz-py-barite in
extensive zones of qtz(-pyAu) rock; deeper
qz-ser-pyenarg with trace tetrah and rare
sphcpy
Porph: qtz-kspar-ser vns with mo and cpy
deep and chalcocite on py shallow. Tourmqtz-sch-ser ah in and around phys, chl-epmont-mt-spec ht distal
Pegmatite-sch-py-bi-cpy-mo pods
Skarn: chl-ephf
Bx pipe:Chalcocite; deeper cpy stkwk

Resources:2Mt @ 0.89% oxide


Very limited supergene enrichment
Cu; O.4Mt @ 1.07% mixed Cu;
(traces of chalcocite on py)
3Mt @ 0.95% sulfide Cu (Mo) Strucrure: N-S regional; NE & NW
dikes; NW breccias
Orebodies: Cerro Pel6n and Cerro
Tunel
Currently under exploration

Damon and others, 1981


Sillitoe, 1976
Bustamante, 1985
Martinez, 1973

Augite-hbl diorite
(>lookm 2 )/62 Ma
Bi-qtz monzonite (10
km 2 )/62 Ma?

"0

tT1

;0

>Z
o

o....,

::r:

tT1

;0

veins: >5 Mt@ 3 g!t Au


dissem: >27 Mt@ 1 g/t Au
Cu and Ag occur in low grades
within ore (reserves have not

been published)
Aorida-Barrigon ore bodies:

90Mt @ 0.3 %Cu, 0.015%Mo,


minor Zn,W,Pb
La Caridad: >1.2Gt @ 0.65%Cu,
0.012%Mo, minor W
Los Pilares bx pipe: 16.6Mt @
2.5% Cu mined/40Mt @
0.8%Cu remaining

District overlain by angular


unconformable basalt-andesite
flows and Miocene? clastic
sediments

Pre-feasibility stage
District covers large area of at least
3 mineralized centers with lesserscattered mineralization in
between. The overall area is >40

km 2 with many prospects and

Ianin, 1890
SolO and Ibarra, 1992
Casaceli, 1992
Staude and Lyons,
unpublished data
l.ivingston, 1974
Theodore and Priego de
Wit, 1976
Hernandez, 1978
Thoms, 1978

variable alteration.
Active mine

Z
....,
;0

c:::
CIl
(5

?o
tT1

tT1

tT1

;0

>-

KE evap.(Cuchillo)
KE Is(Benigno)
KE lSsh,marl (Lagrima Fm)
KE lSchert(Finlay)
KE shIs(Benevides)
KE-M 1s(1.. Plata)

Endoskarn: I) albitic and potassic


alterations; 2) vesuv-gr; 3) fI-ser-qtz
Skarn (proximal): l)ad-vesuv-wollscheelitemo; 2) hd-qtz-flr-py-gn-sph-cpyanh
Replacement: (distal mantos) Hd-adwollqtz-mt-flr-po-aspy-py-gn-sph-cpy-trem;
(chimneys) Po-py-gn-sph-cpy-ht-qtz-anh-

Resources: 21Mt @
Skarn(mantos): 3.8%Zn, 4.5%
Pb, 0.4% Cu, 150g/tAg,
0.3g/tAu, + minor Mo, Hg, W
Replacement(chimney)6%Zn,
7% Pb, O.3%Cu, 200g/tAg,
0.5g/tAu, + minor Hg, Sb

Structure: District scale (l2km)


dome. Naica sits on eastern flank.
Mine scale N25-35E and N4o.80E
fractures control chimney ores.
Felsite dikes control mantos.
Post-mineral faults control

Ruiz and others, 1986


Stone, 1959
Authors, unpublished data

KEls
KE ande tuffs (Teealillan and
Tepaleatepec Fms)
KLcgl
TCmid hbl-ande dikes

Massive Ore: 191.3 Mt@ 67.6


I) diop-gr/ad-plag-(po)-mt-ht-cc-py-cpy-hbl- % total Fe (36.4% Mag Fe)
ep-chl
Trace conc.: 0.15%P; O.ll %Ti;
Potassic alteration:
1.3%S; V 283 ppm; Cu
2) Kspar-phlog-qtz-ap-cc
240ppm; Co 125 ppm; Zn 100
Endoskam present, but mostly cxoskam.
ppm
Orebodies: La Chinita, La Encantada, La
Calc-silicate alteration:

(5
Z
~

tT1

gypsum caverns

><

Presently active
Massive replacement controlled
mainly by Is-tuff contact
Structure: Nand NW strike-slip
faults wi minor displ.; breecia
Deposit morphology: roof

N
~

MoO.
Pena Colorada,
Col.

o"0

Unpublished company
reports
Zurcher, unpublished data

n
o

Active, diss. resource currently

being evaluated

Primorosa, Chinforinazo, La Chula, Piedras


Neg ras

.j>.

>.Q
>.Q

Table 2. Description of selected intrusion-related districts (continued).


Piedras Verdes,
Son

Providencia, Zac

Real de Castillo
(Sierra Juarez),
BCN

San Antonio de la
Huerta, Son

Bi-qtz monz phy wi


resorbed qtz phenos (>3
phases) (3 km 2 ) (KLTeE?)

Hbl-bi-qtz monz (41on 2 )/


402 Ma (K -Ar bi) and
related? qtz phy dikes

Hbl-bi equigranular dior


(140 km 2 ) I K
Hbl tonalite (801on2)!
Pegmatite dikes closely
related to some W ore (up
to 2 krn long, <100m
wide) 1100 Ma

Microdiorite (andes
porph)(-.7km 2 )/57.4
1.4 Ma; dac porph and
minor gd

Mz or pz meta-clastic
sediments of greenschist
facies
K L impure Is and ss
KL-TeE med grained
equigranular gd batholith
(part of Sonora-Sinaloa
batholith)

>2 E- W 3km long x 400m wide vein- shear


zone.
Structures hosting high grade chalcocite-moqtz-ser-ht mineralization, extens ive se r

(>7km 2 area).
Inner low sulfide zone coincident with qLZ
monz phy wi bi-kspar vns.
Contact wne with tourmaline and qtz-kspar
Intermediate zone hosting bio--ksp wi qtz
veining and ser along fractures (hypogene
up to 03%Cu in this wne)
Outer intense sene and gtz veined zone
Mantos:
JL Is (Zuluaga Fm)
are: py-sph/cpy-gn-py-cc-qtz-Ag
JL limy sh (LaCaja)
sulfosalts/rhodocrosite-Au
KE Is (Taraises-Cupido Fms)
Alteration: ep in intrusive at depth, I to 2m
Kmid Is chert (Cuesta Cura
gt envelope in deepest levels
Fto)
Zoning: Au,Ag,Pb high at shallow levels
KL sh (Caracol Fm)
(supergene?); 2o/pb decreases upward;
TeE rhy tuff
Cu!Zn increases downward
PZL metased, graphite marble, Skarn: GI-diop--hd-axinite-woll-trem-;,p-calcite-qtz-w! seh-py-po--aspy-cpy, sparse
bi-muse-chl sehist, slate
Au in veins.
Mineralized plutons intrude
Greisen: Bi-musc-scb-minor tourm
earlier J -K batholithic
Cpx-gt-vesuvianite hornfels is interbedded
sequence
and forms roof pendants and screens
Mineralization is K age and variable in type
and size along country rock contact

a or T -J shallow marine sh,


.s, Is
T-J argillites, metaarkose,
and rhyolite
Laramide Sonora batholith
exposed to N, S, and W

'"
Hypogene grades consistently
0.1-0.15% Cu with supergene
overall grades of 0.45% Cu in
chalcocite ore! tonnage is
being expanded by current
drilling (AZCa, 1993)

Metamocphism may predate


mineralization and may be
associated to the Laramide age

Drier, unpublished data,

1993
Cardenas, 1993

Sonora-S inaloa batholith


Pre-feasibility stage

Resources:
Structure: NIOW to N80E radial
Zinc W: 0.5Mt @
fracture system. N30E & N75E
6%Pb; 19%Zn;0.3g1tAu;200g/t (normal to strata) are important
Ag
ore controls at depth. N55W
Leona and Nazareno: O.5Mt @
bedding planes control min. at
shallow levels.
ll%Pb;
Status: mined out
17%Zn;0.5g/tAu;280gltAg

Haynes and Kesler, 1988


ahrnoto and others, 1966
Rye and Haffly, 1969
Sawkins, 1964
Triplett, 1952

Prod: 110,000 t@ I % W~
(1917 - 1943)
Reserve estimates:
Skarn: est. -3x106 t@
0.3%W03 in sch
Greisen: esL -lxlO6 t@ 0.5%

Menchaca, 1985
Fries and Schmitter, 1945
Staude, unpublished data

Mostly mined out although large,


poorly defined low grade resource
still present and no recent
exploration drilling undertaken.
Marble and diorite make best seh
host where pegmatite dikes are
close
W~
Mines areas are aggregations of
2 mine areas: EI Fenomeno, Los
small prospect pits. Ore was hand
Gavilanes
cobbed
Mo-chalco bx + py veins with chl-ser-kaol
4.2 Mt @ 1.38% Cu and 207 I of Mineralized shingle-bx.
U308 (as of 1985). 1990Exploration predominantly around
all bx clasts, possibly the upper part of a
porphyry Cu system.
1992 drilling and varying
main red butte with several Au-Ag
Shallowly drilled Cu min. is 65% chalco-coy, estinnates of 11-15 Mt @ 0.8veins radiating from it. Zoned alt
around pipes: arg and silic with ep-15% cpy, 10% cuprite-tenor, 10% chrys1.0% Cu.
chl-cc-py-spec
malachite-azur. Minor mo, mctalorbernite,
Past small scale high grade lode
with oxides of goethite, ht, lim, pitch,
mining and in situ leach
neotoctite. Hypogene spec, py, qtz, sid,
experimentation
mt, cpy, ser, barite, Kspar.
Pervasive alteration with peripheral Au and
small placers. Ag-Au-aspy-<jtz veins and

t:I
to

San Fr..cisco del


Oro, Chih

Hbl-(bi) diorite
(>40krn 2 )! KL
Bi-{qtz) monzonite (10
1on2)/KL

Rhy fiows-t<likes!
25.30.3Ma (K-Ar,
whole rock)

PZ Is -siltstone
KE ande volcanoseds
TeMio--Plio hbl-ande dikes
(post-mineralization)

JL-KE calc. sh (parral)


Te ande flow. + dikesl
32.8O.5Ma (K-Ar, wr)
TeL congl
TeL bs/7Ma

Spotty stkwk PY-<jtz vein system rare chalco Small drilled areas intersepted
chalco, hm, rot ore horizons
Possible potassic alteration: Kspar-phlogqtz
but no published Cu or Fe
Local calc-silicate alteration: Diop--gr!adreserves
plag-mt-ht-cc-ep-chl-py-cpy
Surface gossans and numerous small turquoise
bodies

Structures: Nand NW normal faults


wi minor displ.; scattered post
mineral tectonic breccia zones
locally carrying elevated Au
Deposil morphology: roof pendent
Fe-Cu skarns, large but poorly

Veins:
Stage 1(1-2m tnv. of mas. sulf-{ax-ep-chlad; gn!sph-py!(cpy,scheelite)
Stage 225m of hd/eplax-fir!ad-ilv /qtz-ht);
cpyiAu-py/aspy-sch-(sph/argen)
Stage 3&4(barren qtz-fir-cc); (cpy/py)
Granadena Rep1.(Stage I eq.): Alter: adax in ite-ep-ch I

Mineralization control: wh~re


bedding displays chaotic folding
and slumping
Structure: NS and NW she ... zones
Zoning (increasing from S to N):
Pb/Zn,AglPb,AgIZn

Production 1650-1988:
13xl09 g Ag
San Francisco Mine: 0.5gMu;
150g/tAg; 5%Pb; 8%20;
0.6%Cu, 5-12%CaF2

dermed vo zones

~
;;0

-l

0
,2

c-Cl
Vl

S;
C
t:I

Damon and others, 1981


Leonard, 1989
Perez, 1985
Sillitoe, 1976
Authors, unpublished data

-rtn
N

;;0

n
:r:

tn

;;0

2
t:I
:-0
;:<:

rCE:lacements in host seds around bx center

San Fernando,
BCN

3::

Anaconda, unpublished
data, 1982
Consejo de Recursos
Minerales, unpublished
reports
Staude, unpublished
mapping. 1990-91

3::
3::
tn

Cl
~

:;::

Koch, 1956
Grant and Ruiz, 1988
Authors, unpublished data

Present ly active
~

Table 2. Description of selected intrusion-related districts (continued).


~

San Isidro, Mich

San Martin, Zac

San Nicolas, Son

San Pedro
Corralitos, Chih

Santa Eulalia,
Chih

Santa Fe, Chis

Gd batholithl 32.50.7
Ma (K-Ar, hbl) + intr. b.
pipes & rhyodacite phy

pz ? mewed roof pendants

Bihbl qLZ mooz wi hblbicp' gr (4km2) + phy


phases I 46.2IMa
Rhy phy shell

K E Is (Cuesta del Cura)\


KL Is-sh (lndidura Fm), main

Bi gd equigranular I
(49 .61.2)
B i gr & qLZ phy dikes and
small intrusions; sch
pegmatites I Laramide

KL-TeE? variably altered


andes
KLls
Tsh
Pz Is

ore host

Te porphyritic monz or gd KE Is and sh interbedded


(Finley, Lagrima, and
stock(1 km 2 ), scattered
dior porph dikes and sills Benigno Fms), host ore with
strongest min. in dolomitic
(control mineralization)
horizons.
Te volcanic (premineralization)
Pre-mineral qLZ monz phy
stock and diabase sills I
37 .8&37.50.5Ma (KAr)
Syn-mineral acid felsite +
intrusive bxs I
26.6O.6Ma (K-Ar, wr)
Late syn-mineral hbl
lamprophyre phy I
32.20.2Ma (K-Ar, hbl
Gd, dolerite (diabase)
cupolas(0.05km 2 ),
granite, fel site I TeE

K E anh + black sh (Cuchillo


Fm
KE Is (Benigno, Ugrima, and
Finlay Fms)
Teoligo volcs, ande tuffs
Teoligo-mio rhy tuffs

Suaqui Verde, Son

QLZ monz. phy silll


57.21.2 Ma (K-Ar bi) +
intrusive bx

Bi-qLZ monz-tonalite phy


with <10% qLZ phenos
and making up at least 2
distinctive phasesl 58.8
hbl, 56.4 bi
Mineralized b. pipes with
intrusive and ande site
vole fragmentsl ser dated
at 56.71.l

Grade: O.4%Cu (one pipe)

No supergene enrichm .
Py minor beyond pipes

Damon and others, 1981


Sillitoe, 1976

(87S r /86S r )0=0.7039


Exploration stage

Skarn: gd-sacc qLZ-gr,ad-ferrosaliteReserves: 30.5 Mt @ 1.0%Cu;


vesuvianit.e-scap-ep-qtz-trem-Is
5.0%Zn; 0.5%Pb; 150 g/t Ag;
Ore min.: gn-aspy-py-po-bn-cpy-sph-gn0.3-0.7 glt Au
tetrah-Ag-pyrarg -stib-james
Local qtz slOCkwork near contact
3 types of ore bodies: Gt, ep, qtz, calcite
Prod 1916-1945 90,000 t @
skarn with minor flr, py, cpy, powellite
0.7-2% (ave -1.3%) WO),
Pegmatite dikes in gr wi qLZ, feldspar, mica,
minor MoS2. Deposit worked
chI, sch, cU-LUngstite, wolframite, mo, py,
interrnitently for Au, Ag, and
cpy, chalcocite
Cu. High grade ore in pockets
Granite: Qtz-sch-cpy vns
along veins
Alteration of greisen and hydrolytic halo >4
2
km
Replacement with minor recrystallization
I Mt chimney: (produced +
and Pb-Zn skarn near dior dike contact. Ore
reserves) @ 7% Pb, 7% Zn,
minerals sph, gn, tetrah, cpy, py, o.ides,
1.5% Cu, 219g/t Ag, Au up to
ce, barite
6g1t, and Mo traces.
Skarn aureole up to 40m with limey shale and
Is recrystallization e.tending >25Om from
e.posed contact but intrusiOl! may be
shallow
East Camp mineralization: gt-hd skarn with
Production(E and W): 40Mt @
massive and dissem. sulfides, chimneys, and
8.8%Pb; 7.3%Zn; 320gItAg
mantos. Distal Sn-V-bearing chimneys
East Camp:<o.3%Cu; O.lgltAu;
West Camp: massive sulfide chimneys,
<1.5%Sn; <5%V
mantos, and proximal intrusive bu. Local
rbodonite-vesuvianite skarn and distal Mnhd fayalite skarn. Most removed Mn-Ag
min. halo around both ore zones

Pb-Ag veins above Zn-Cu skarn


show strong zoning
Presently active

Olivares, 1991
Rubin and Kyle, 1988
Authors, unpublished data

Extensive alteration areas in region


with cpy and mo vnlts assoc with
nearby porphyry intrusions. W
veins may be a h.. ge resource
which has not been worked for 50
yrs.

Weise and Cardenas, 1945


Staude, unpubli shed data

The andes is possibly early Te age


and is altered and locally
mineralized
Pervasive fracture-controlled pyrite
veins in cental part of stock.

Dinsmore, 1909
Gonzalez Reyna, 19560, b
Megaw and others, 1988
Megaw, unpublished data

"0

o;:cI

"0

:r:

-<
~

()

o"0
"0

rn

;:cI

;..
Z

o
o...,

:r:

rn

;:cI

...,Z
Presently in production.
Good metal and sulfur isotope
zonation. S and Pb data suggest
mi.ture of magmatic and
sedimentary sulfur.

Hewiu, 1943
Megaw, 1990

;:cI

c:

C/l

o
Z

;0
rn
r

rn

Pre K1 intrusive comple.


poorly e.posed
K E siliclastics overlain by
dominant ore-hosting Is
Te post-mineral basalt dikes
cut skarn and ore

Santo Tom's, Sin

Breceia filling & SlOCkwork:


Propyl.: ch l-ep-qLZ-tour-cc-cpy-po-ser-pygn-sph
Emtic: malachite

KE Is-sh
KL gd batholith
K-Te red fangl.
Teande flow
Te rhy tuff
Equigranular batholith hosts
and likely older than
mineralization (Laramide
Sonora batholith)
KL-TeE andes possibly
resting unconformably over
batholith but intruded by
porphyritic (mineralized)
stock s

Cu-Au-Ag in wollastonite halo around small


diabas e stock
Elliptical skarn halo with bornite, tetrab,
bournonite, cpy, go, py, enargite,
linneaite, siegenite. Gold in skarn matrix of
qLZ- cc-gt-woll (paragenesis unclear)
Also gre isen min
Stockwork + dissem.:
Potassic: qtz-kspar-bi-tour-py-cpy-(bn)--ep
Propyl.: chl-ep-py
Other: calc-silicate; chalcocite blanket
Taluses cemented by mal-<:hrysocolla

Reserves: 10,OOOt @
6g1tAu; 189g/tAg; 2.47%Cu at
th e Santa Fe mine.
Disseminated metal and
wollastonite potential

Ls intruded by diabase and granite,


mineralization appears related to
mafic cupolas
Exploration stage

Salas, 1975
Sillitoe, 1976
McCarthy, 1896
Pesquera and other s, 1977
Pantoja, 1991

250 Mt @ 0.45-0.52%Cu
10 Mt oxide
14 Mt @ 0.74%Cu supergene
blanket
No Mo; 0.05g1t Au

Supergene enrichment present.


(87S r/86Sr )0=0.7063
Pre-feasibility stage

Damon and others, 1981


Sillitoe, 1976
Bustamante, 1985

System is >2 km (E-W) 1.5 Ion (N-S) with


alteration well developed in voles to E and S
but not as well in batholith to N.
Bi and kspar in b., andes, and batholith with
approx 1% total sulfides, QSP well
developed and overprinting potassic with
hypogene grades up to 0.5%Cu (ave 0.1-.3)

Hypogene grade in potassic alt


rock 0.1 %-0.15% Cu. Cu
enriched by supergene
processes along 2 km E-W
zone 400m wide zone of
chalcocite and o.ides (-0.30.5% Cu)

Economic mineralization strongly


Drier, personal
controlled by E- W structures which communicati on, 1993
influence supergene fluid flow
DamOl! and others, 1983
E.ploration stage

s:

rn

;:cI

;..

r
N
~

oz
Z

s:rn
><
n
o

lJ>

U>

Table 2. Description of selected intrusion-related districts (continued).


Tameapa. Sin

Toliman, Chis

TumbiscatIo,
Mich
Ve1ardena, Dgo

Verde Grande,
Son

Zimapan, Hgo

Bi-hbl-qtz monz. + qtz


monz phy plugl
52.91.1 Ma (K-Ar on
bi) + 3 lour-bx pipes;
bs, ande & aplile dikes

Hb1 qtz-monz pby (>1


km 2 1) (5.6Ma?, Pbalpba age)

Diorite + pegmatite dikes/


1Ma
Andesite bx +flowsl 1 Ma
Bi-cpx-qtz latite phy
(5km 2 )1 33.11.8 Ma
(K-Ar, bi)
rhy dikes! 33.41.7 (KAr, bi)

Hbl qtz-monz, bi-hbl gd


(LaIe K1) (>4km2 ), no
pby exposed; late postmineral mafIC & rby
dikes
Concordia augite qtz
monz+monz dike (6km
long,30 m
wide)!38.7O.8 Ma

KE Is-dol. sh. ss
KE meLande + meLande bx
TeE ande, qtz-Iatite, aug ilehbl dacite
TeE px-bi-diorite> bi-aug-mtgd>bi-hbl-gd phy(cpy-mo)
(I00km 2 )/55 Ma (K-Ar bi)
Teoligo-mio K-rich qtz latile
Te p 1io bs flows
Tellle jst cgl
pC amph gneiss, schist
Pz gr-gd
Mz metavolcs,
metamorphosed sb and
carbonates
T- J ss, Is, sh
KLgr-gd-<li
TeL ande
pz phyllites
KEls
KE Is (AuroraFm)
KE lSChert (Cuesta Cura)
KL shils (Iodidura)
TeE fang (Ahuichila)
Temid arnpb-ande/45 Ma

Mid-Late Pz? limestone and


calcareous siltst

JL ss+shaly Is (Trancas Fm)


KE shaly Is-+<:hert (Doctor
Fm)
KL sh+ls (Soyatal)
TeE fang I (EI Morro CgI)
T"mid ande+dacite agg
(Espinas Fm)
TeL fangl

Slockwork + bx:
Potassic(scanly): K spar-bi-qtz-py-cpy-moml
Sericitic(2.5x7km 2 , E-W): qtz-ser-py-molOUf

Argillic: clay-qtz-ser-Iim
Propyl.: chl-py-(cpy,mo lraces)
Other: gl-px-hbl & ab-ep fac ies hornfels +
ass. Fe-Cu min. (diorile)
Stkwk+dissem: cpy-mo-py vnl ts wi qtz-bichlanhy selvage intense bi-kspar-ser-qtzpy around ore zone with outer ep-chl-pygoethite halo.
Also ilmenite min. in veins up to 1m wide in
post-Ordovician gd

1'-'

Tonn age: ?
Grade estim ates: Stockwork is
2-7% combined cpy-mo-py in
qLZ monz phy, qtz mooz, and
gd phy. Breccias are
0.2%Cu ,58ppmMo

Supergene enrichment present at


depth ? (Chalcocile reported in lwo
DOH's)

Grade: < than 0.8%Cu


Ore is hypogene Cu-Mo-Zn-Ag;
adjacent Fe-Ti vein system

Porphyry Cu as soc wi Cenlral


American strike slip faulting and
southern Mexico collisional arc
Presently inactive

Damon and others. 1981


Silliloe. 1976
Chri singer, 1975

Structure: Laramide
doming>N25W+E- W
faulting>N10W+N60W basic
dik es >N25W felsic dikes> N60W,
SWB&R

Damon and others, 1983


Sillitoe, 1975
Anaconda, unpubli shed
data, 1980
M~rida, 1976

3::
CJ

Stockwork :
Qtz-cpy-aspy veins
Exotic: malachite
Replacement:
Zone l(adj. to qtz 1atite): po,
sph,cpy,aspy,py,gn,freib, CaF2 ,cc,gt
Zone 2(adj. to qtz latite and rby dikes):
aspy,gn,bou l, freib,cpy,Py,CaF2,cc ,qtz
Zone 3(at Is-dike contact):
py,sph,gn(Ag),aspy,cpy, CaF2,cc,qtz
Zone 4(bx, NE flank of stock):
py,sph,gn,qtz,
Zone 5( epithermal, SW flank of stock): pysph,boul,gn, Ag sulfides,CaF2,CC
Cu skarn wI gt-ep-trem, tounnaline vos, cpypy ore pods with chalcocite in shallow
workings.
Leached gossan at surface. Altttation and
min. within 200m of gd and monz contact
Exo- & endoskarn(2m wide along dikes) +
mantos, chimneys, and veins(radial):
Alteration: calc-silicate; ad/gr-diop-cc-woll ep-chl-qtz-dol and _glser
Ore: po-(mt)-scheelite-powellite-aspy-pycpy/sph-gn-argen/cub/mackinawite-bnboulangerite-telrah-py/rnarcasite/covellite

Assay (3.55m width): 1.06%Cu;


28g/t Ag; 1.25g1t Au

Exploration stage

Resources: 15Mt @ Skam(?):


4%Pb;5%Zn;
2.5%Cu;175g1tAg; .5 g/t Au
Chimney: 4%Pb;7%
Zn ;0.2%Cu; 1909itAg
Manto: 7-20%Pb; 427%Zn;<1 %Cu;700
gltAg;0.5g/tAu

The Sierra Santa Maria is the NE


third of a large circular volcanic
cenler, emplaced where fold axes
of carbonates change from EW to
NS
Presently active

Anaconda, unpublished
data, 1980
Gilmer and others, 1988
Gilmer and others, 1986
Authors, unpubli shed data
Levich, 1973
SplDT and Garrey, 1908

o:J

:;0

-l

0
,2

,...
Cl
(/)

);!
C
CJ

.rn
r

C'
1 Mt of 2.5% Cu, lr W and
wollastonite resource grading
up to 70% and >10Mt at the
Los Pilares deposit

ESL

Los Pilares wollastonite deposit to


the West

Perez, 1985
Staude, unpublished data

:;0

n
::r:

m
:;0

Produclion 1785-1945:
S5,OOO,OOO.Production 1975-1984:
2Mt @ O.04g1tAu; 19O9ltAg;
1.3%Pb; 3.8%Zn;0.4%Cu
Reserve s: 2Mt @
175g/tA g; 1.7%Pb; 3.3%Zn;
O.4%Cu
Main orebodies: EI Monte, E I
Carrizal, Las Animas

Minerali zation control: N30W


fractures, N65E norm. faults
(Concordia Dike), pre-min.
folding
Zoning:
AglCu;high if dike thick
Ag/Pb;low,constant
AgJZn;low at depth
Pb/Zn;low, constant
Pb/Cu;bigh if dike thick, low at
depth
Zn/Cu; high if dike thick
Presently shut down

Garcia and Querol, 1991


Ordonez, 1986

CJ

:-c
A

3::
3::

Abbreviations from Barton and others (1991b) and Kretz (1983).

.os

503

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTH ER INTRUS ION-RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

A.

B.
...

Simplified
Regions

"'.,

(049
(j50

Cu Deposit Types

di sseminated
breccia

Selected
Intrusion-related
Cu Districts

\. -' ~

,;, '
,-- -- -'"

SQO

skarn

'-'

@- 101

Iq<JO

kilometers

University of Arizona
Mexico Consortium

Figure 7. Intrusion-related copper deposits of Mexico listed in table 3.

ping smaller porphyry stocks and breccia pipes (fig. 8). Older
and deeper hypogene mineralization can be quite high-grade
in skarn, breccia, and pegmatitic bodies but is generally much
less extensive. In contrast, the La Verde and other Michoacan
porphyries (table 2) may contain relatively continuous highgrade hypogene ,zones but rarely exhibit significant supergene
enrichment.

Igneous Characteristics
Intrusion-related copper deposits are associated with a
range of intermediate to felsic magmas. These deposits can be
broadly related to both the relatively felsic quartz monzonite
(granite)-type systems and the dioritic or alkaline-type systems
(Hollister, 1978). Sparse petrographic data in most districts
makes it difficult to evaluate the igneous characteristics associated with copper-bearing systems. Nevertheless, deposits of
both types are apparently common; indeed, there may be a
broader spectrum than this simple two-fold classification indicates. This is one of the reasons that we chose to compare a variety of other igneous-related systems, many of which contain
copper, to the more restricted class of porphyry copper deposits.
Felsic-dominated systems typically belong to composite,
generally long-lived igneous centers. The characteristic suite of

...

II

metals is copper with lesser molybdenum and zinc, here designated Cu(-Mo-Zn). Early magmatic activity is generally intermediate (andesitic or quartz dioritic) in composition . This is
superseded by voluminous variably porphyritic granodioritic to
quartz monzonitic phases and their volcanic equivalents (fig.
9a). More often than not, copper mineralization is most closely
associated with strongly porphyritic quartz-feldspar rocks (fig.
8). Minor igneous minerals typically include biotite and hornblende with accessory magnetite and sphene. Related volcanic
rocks are typically prominent within the districts and mayor
may not serve as hosts for mineralization. The most prominent
examples are in Sonora, but representatives occur throughout
Mexico (Inguaran, table 2, fig. 9a). These moderately felsic
systems closely resemble the Laramide porphyry centers of
Arizona and New Mexico (Titley, 1982).
Dioritic rather than highly alkalic rocks characterize a more
mafic group of porphyry copper systems. Associated metals are
ill-known, but gold, iron (in the form of hydrothermal magnetite), and molybdenum are commonly reported. We designate
this deposit type as Cu( -Fe-Au). Typical intrusive complexes
contain early diorite or gabbro and evolve to porphyritic phases
of tonalitic to granodioritic compositions. Associated volcanic
rocks are andesitic and may lack the dacitic to quartz latitic
phases seen with the Cu( -Mo-Zn) suite. For example, La Verde,

504

M. D. BARTON, 1. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER AN D P. K. M. MEGAW

Table 3. Intrusionhosted copper districts in Mexico.


Map#

State

Map#

Cerro Colorado

BCN

53

Santo Tomas de Cuchicari

EI Fenomeno

BCN

54

Mi Madre

SIN

Vi bora

BCN

55

La Natividad

SIN

District

District

State
SIN

Turquesa

BCN

56

Mina Grande

SIN

San Fernando

BCN

57

Las TrojesSan Jose del Llano

SI N

Punta Norte

BCN

58

La Selva

SIN

EI Arco

BCN

Tamea pa

SIN

Mangle

BCS

San Luis Gonzaga

SIN

La Trinidad

BCS

BacamoriGuajolotes

SIN

10

Cerro La Mina

SON

Margarita

SIN

II

Puertesitos

SON

Las Higueras

SIN

12

MargaritaElizabethSalada

SON

59
60
61
62
63
64

Rincon de Copaco

SIN

13

Usta BlancaProvecdora

SON

65

Cosala

SIN

14

San Juan

SON

66

Copalquines

SIN

15

EI Tecolote

SON

Laveaga

SIN

16

EI Colorado

SON

17

Sonora Copper

SON

18

Cerros Los Coches

SON

67
68
69
70

19

EI Nublado

SON

20

EI Pilar

21

La Esmeralda

SIN

La Azulita

SIN

Los Naranjos

SIN

71

Malpica

SIN

SON

72

Cerro Los Cuervos

DGO

Maria (Ca nanca District 2125)

SON

San Luis Del Cordero

DGO

22

Milpillas

SON

73
74

San Isidro

DGO

23

La Colorada

SO N

75

Cerro Coloradito

DGO

24

Capote

SON

76

Cerro Prieto

DGO

25

Sinoquipe

SON

77

Sierra Sac ramentoCastanos

COA

26
27
28
29

La Pa!ma

SON

COA

SON

EI Carrizal

COA

Suaqui Verde

SON

78
79
80

Cerro Pa nuco

EI Cobre

Cerro Boludo

NVL

Dos Naciones

SON

81

Concepcion del Oro

ZAC

30

Cuatro Hermanos

SON

82

EI Cabezon

ZAC

31

FloridaBarrigon, Bella Esperanza

SON

83

Tepezala

AGS

32

Caridad, Pilares (Nacozari 3132)

SON

84

La Paz

SLP

33

Los Alisos

SON

85

Bretana, Florencia

TAM

34

Cabullona

SON

San Jose Victoria

TAM

35

Jumbo

SON

86
87

Sierra Leon

GTO

36
37

Rosa Maria

SON

88

EI Real

JAL

Promontorio

SON

89

Maria Elisa

JAL

38

Los Verdes

SON

90

Mina Colorada

COL

39

San Antonio de la Huerta

SON

91

La Verde

MIC

40

Piedras Verdes

SON

San Isidro

MIC

41

Sa ra Alicia

SON

InguaranManga de Cuimbo

MIC

42

Piedras Verdes

CHIH

43

Potrero de Bojorquez

CHIH

44

Guadalupana

CHIH

45

Los Reyes

CHIH

46
47
48
49

Tahonas PorphyrySatevo

CHIH

Mala Noche Sur

CHIH

92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99

La Lolita

CHIH

Rio Tinto

CHIH

50

Magistral

CHIH

51

Arroyo de la Cienega

CHIH

52

La Vaca

CHIH

EI Malacate

MIC

EIPapayo

GRO

Temisco

GRO

Balsas Limon Media Luna

GRO

EI Carnero

OAX

Costache

OAX

100

Ecatepec

OAX

101

Santa Fe

CHS

102

Toliman

CHS

103

Las Salinas

GRO

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTHER INTRUS ION-RELATED MINERALI ZATION IN MEXICO

potassic

Michoacan, consists of tonalitic and quartz dioritic porphyries


which intrude a quartz dioritic batholith having coeval andesitic
volcanics (Coochey and Eckman, 1978; fig. 10, table 2). Hornblende, clinopyroxene, and magnetite with or without sphene
are typically present in these rocks. Where described, compositional trends are distinctively plagioclase-dominated (fig. Ila).
More highly alkalic rocks may be present but have not been
documented in the literature. Plutonic systems that may be
analogous, such as some Fe(-Cu-Au) skarn systems, do have reported syeni te and monzonites (Pena Colorada, table 2).
Strongly alkalic igneous rocks such as are present with British
Columbia alkalic copper systems are apparently absent.
Strongly alkal ic igneous centers in central and eastern Mexico
are associated with other types of mineralization (mostly fluorine-rich) and are discussed below.
A common feature of many districts of both compositional
types is well developed magmatic evolution with copper mineralization restricted to later, more felsic phases. It is unclear from
the available ev idence in most districts whether there are multiple hypogene mineralizing events. In a few areas such as
Cananea it is clear that multiple stocks were involved in mineralization at the level of observation. Copper-rich skarn systems
(Verde Grande. Sonora, table 2, fig. 5) and some copper-bearing
epi thermal systems (Mulatos, Sonora, table 2, fig . 5) associated
with intermediate to fe lsic volcanic or plutonic systems may be
systems that did not generate porphyry deposits or they may be
the tops, bottoms, or sides of such systems.

Zn-Cu skarn

Hydrothermal Characteristics

Cananea,
Sonora

1~;I:i~~;:1 dacite /

rhyolite

........ propylitic

Qz-Fldspr porph
& granodiorite
carbonate &
~ clastic rocks
older igneous
rocks

~ sericitic

II

H~E~I
~,~~.;.*

II

II

Figure 8. Simplified geological map of the Cananca, Sonora Cu(MoZn)


district. Compiled and simplified from Valentine (1936), Meinert (1982),
Bushnell (1988), and W.A. Wodzicki (unpublished mapping).

Cu(-Mo-Zn)

extrusive ", intrusive


intermediate / felsic
porphyry / skarn
hydrolytic> alkalic

Qz
-25

300C

logjo2-20

'" I .m ............... 1

-5

. .. . . .

... .. .

.. III

gua/elll ",'"

The types, distribution, and timing of hydrothermal alteration in porphyry copper systems in Mexico are typical of such
systems worldwide, but few details are available for most Mexican districts (table 2). Alkalic, hydrolytic, propylitic, and skarn

4500CO
lao; 7"
~ ' 4
.s~,"~;;;;y>
. ..

50S

Los
Reyes
\Pc

" " f ... . .

15

-35

/'

./

1Wi1

. .

, , ,logj02
' -30 "

i
-25

Kf

tonalite porphyry &


qz diorite porphyry

II quartz diorite

!lUll eu ore bodies


~

intense quartz-epidote(;;'1/ chlorite-sericite

lIS chlorite-epidote
.::::;.~;::S:

Figure 9. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for


selected Cu(-Mo-Zn) deposits. See table 2 for details and sources.

Figure 10. Simplified geological map of the La Verde, Michoacan porphyry


copper deposit. Modified from Coochey and Eckman (1978).

506

M. D. BARTON, J. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

alteration are all well-known; styles and abundances vary with


the nature of the igneous and host rocks. Hydrolytic alteration ,
particularly sericitic alteration, predominates in most districts .
Clay-dominated alteration types (supergene and hypogene) are
widely distributed as well as is extensive propylitic alteration in
volcanic rocks. Skarns, typically garnet-rich (andradite?), are
common where carbonate hosts are present but account for a
relatively small portion of the overall alteration in the larger districts. Conversely, many small copper-bearing skarns occur with
intrusions bearing little or no described alteration.
Alkalic alteration is commonly recognized and typically
consists of vein-controlled secondary potassium-feldspar and
biotite. Sulfide-bearing pegmatitic biotite-potassium-feldsparbearing dikes and veins are prominent in a number of molybdenum-rich districts (Cananea, Cumobabi, Nacozari; table 2).
Potassic alteration assemblages are typically present in stockwork zones in the central and deeper portions of systems. In the
pegmatitic occurrences, potassic and hydrolytic assemblages
may be telescoped into narrow intervals (the La ColOl'ada and
Maria deposits, PelTY, 1961; Wodzicki and Barton, 1991).
Chalcopyrite is widespread in potassic assemblages with
lesser pyrite and magnetite and uncommon bornite and pyrrhotite. In the Cu( -Mo-Zn) systems, chalcopyrite with or without
magnetite and relatively magnesium-rich biotite in the potassic
assembles indicate modestly high sulfidation states (fig. 9b). In
contrast, the early magnetite-rich, bornite- and pyrrhotite-bearing assemblages in deposits such as La Verde are consistent with
less sulfidizing conditions in the Cu(-Fe-Au) (dioritic) systems
(fig. llb).In terms of timing, potassic alteration is widely overprinted by hydrolytic assemblages . It may also grade outward
into extensive weak propylitic alteration of volcanic and plutonic sequences. Igneous minerals in propylitized rocks are variably converted to chlorite, epidote, sericite, calcite, and pyrite in
very extensive (commonly greater than 10 square kilometers),
ill-defined zones (figs. 8, 10). Sodium-rich alkalic alteration like
that observed in some other porphyry copper systems (Carten,
1986) has apparently not been described in Mexico, but it is
present in some iron-rich skarns (table 2) and might be expected
in some of the dioritic porphyry systems.
Skarn assemblages are typically gamet-rich with carbonatehematite-quartz-pyrite retrograde assemblages. Silica-pyrite rock
is prominent at Cananea and may be present elsewhere (Einaudi,
1982a). Copper skarns are widespread in limestone-bearing districts with intrusion-hosted mineralization (fig. 7). Like many of
the polymetallic systems discussed below, many copper-rich
skarn systems lack significant mineralization in the igneous
rocks . In some districts porphyry style alteration may be present,
as in the Concepcion del Oro District where andraditic gametchalcopyrite-pyrite skarns line the contact with a granodioritic
stock with closely-spaced gold-bearing quartz-sericite-pyrite
(-chalcopyrite) veins (table 2). Although many copper skams
likely formed synchronously with intrusion-hosted mineralization (Einaudi, 1982b), it has been argued that some such skarns
are diachronous and perhaps older than such mineralization
(Meinert, 1982).
Among the hydrolytic alteration types, sericitic alteration is
by far most abundant and is reported in virtually all described
districts . It is typically expressed as quartz-sericite-pyrite veins
with sericite-rich envelopes which destroy all feldspars. Sericitic

Cu(-Au-Fe)

extrusive < intrusive


intermediate camp.
porphyry(/ skarn)
hydrolytic"" alkalic
Qz

Kf

Pc

Figure II . Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for selected Cu(-Au-Fe) deposits. See table 2 for details and sources.

alteration can be gradational with greisen or potassium-feldsparstable veins, particularly in more felsic systems as in many
Arizona porphyry copper systems (Titley and Beane, 1981;
compare Cananea, Cumobabi, Santa Ana in table 2). In intermediate and especially in mafic host rocks chlorite and lesser
epidote become key minerals in the hydrolytic assemblages .
Chlorite-epidote-quartz assemblages with or without sericite,
hematite, and pyrite as at La Verde (Coochey and Eckman,
1978; fig. 10) apparently are the mafic analogous of the more
common quartz-sericite-pyrite assemblages of more felsic systems (Seedorff, 1991). Advanced argillic assemblages are reported
in only a few Cu( -Mo-Zn) districts (table 2). Areas of exposed
hydrolytic alteration commonly exceed several square kilometers and, like potassic alteration, usually grade outward into
weaker alteration types (figs. 8, 10). A complication in understanding the distribution of hydrolytic alteration in Mexican porphyry systems is the distribution of supergene clays and alunite .
These minerals should constitute a significant component of the
leached caps and large supergene ore bodies, but they are virtually undocumented in the published literature.
The oxidation and sulfidation states of the hydrolytic
assemblages parallel the conditions estimated for higher-temperature assemblages (figs. 9c, Ilc). Opaque minerals in hydrolytic associations are predominately pyrite and chalcopyrite.
Hypogene hematite is present in some of the more mafic systems, apparently in place of pyrite. Pyrite-to-chalcopyrite ratios
typically increase with time and distance from mineralization
centers. A few districts locally contain high sulfidation state
assemblages (enargite and bornite+pyrite) typically associated
with advanced argillic minerals.

Distribution
Porphyry deposits in northern Mexico are associated primarily with Laramide magmatism in the western third of the country (fig. 7). Older porphyry systems associated with Jurassic and
Cretaceous arcs (EI Arco) are sparse and may be the consequence of erosional exposure as is observed in the western

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTHER INTRUSION-RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

United States (BaI10n and others, 1988, p. 142-144). Younger


porphyry copper deposits are common primaI'ily south of the
trans-Mexican volcanic belt from Michoacan to Chiapas. They
are associated with mid- to late-Tertiary arc volcanic centers
related to the central American trench (Damon and others,
1983). Very few regional or district descriptions have been published for these southern deposits.
Baja California and southern Sinaloa contain a number of
porphyry systems assoc iated with the mid- to Late Cretaceous
batholiths. EI Arco and related OCClllTences in Baja California
and southern Sinaloa are related to weakly porphyritic phases of
Cretaceous batholiths (older than 90 Ma) which generally lack
coeval volcan ic rocks. Laramide centers in northwestern Mexico, particularly in northern Sonora (Cananea, Nacozari), contain the largest of the Mexican porphyry copper deposits. These
are associated with 65 to 50 Ma weakly to strongly porphyritic
intermediate to felsic intrusions with abu ndant coeval volcanic
rocks. These deposits contain only modest gold but significant
molybdenum compared to the older and more westerly occurrences. Breccia pipes are abundant, and hydrolytic alteration is
pal1icularly voluminous. West of a region of metamorphic core
complexes in western Sonora slightly older intrusions (80-60
Ma) and related volcanic rocks host widely dispersed chalcopyrite-qUaI1Z-pyrite vein-controlled mineralization and have small
but locally rich copper skarns. Breccia pipes are rare with these
deposits. South of this area sim ilar deposits occur in sparse
Laramide ("older") volcanic rocks exposed in windows through
the Sierra Madre Occidental volcanic province in Sinaloa. East
of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Chihuahua, Durango, and
Zacatecas, sparse late Laramide (Eocene) intermediate composition volcano-intrusive centers have copper mineralization
(Concepcion del Oro, Nazas; fig. 7). Some of these OCClllTences
have copper skarns and base-metal replacement ores in Cretaceous carbonates; none of them are reported to contain significant volumes of economic grades in the igneous rocks.
South of the trans-Mexican arc in Jalisco, Cretaceous (?)
batholithic rocks contain minor copper occurrences broadly
similar to those of Baja California. In contrast, to the southeast
in Guerrero and Michoacan more abundant porphyry copper
mineralization is present in younger Laramide to mid-Tertiary
volcano-intrusive complexes. Like the deposits of northern
Sonora, these deposits are associated with breccia pipes and numerous small copper skams, but comparable large igneoushosted deposits have not been rep0l1ed. Rock types and
associated metals are generally not documented, although available information suggests that both Cu(-Fe-Au) (diorite-type)
and Cu(-Mo-Zn) (granodiorite-type) are present (fig. 5, table 2).
The youngest porphyry province of Mexico extends from eastern Oaxaca southeast through Chiapas into Central America
along the Neogene arc.

Synopsis
As elsewhere in the world, porphyry copper and closely related deposits in Mexico share key features but differ in substantive ways. Copper enrichment, association with shallow parts of
calc-alkaline intrusive centers, and extensive wall rock alteration are universal. Metal contents, style and extent of alteration
and mineralization, and associated igneous rocks vary consider-

\l

507

ably. Of these features, only copper enrichment (of primary or


secondary origin) and possibly magmatic compositions distinguish Mexican porphyry copper deposits from a wide-range of
analogous systems variably enriched in iron, base and precious
metals, and lithophile elements.

OTHER IGNEOUS-RELATED MINERALIZATION


Sharing a link with intrusions, other Mexican deposit types
pose an interesting comparison with the copper-dominated deposits reviewed above. These types include:
(I) greisen , skarn, and pegmatite W( -Mo) deposits associated with intermediate to felsic granitoids,
(2) replacement and vein Zn-Pb-Ag( -Cu) deposits associated with felsic intrusions,
(3) volcanic-hosted vein Ag-Au( -Zn-F-Sn) deposits associated with felsic intrusions,
(4) vein and replacement Ag-Au(-Cu-Zn-Pb) deposits associated with intermediate stocks,
(5) volcanic-hosted Au-Ag( -Cu) systems,
(6) rhyolite-related F(-Sn-Be) deposits,
(7) diorite-related Fe( -Au-Cu) skarns, and
(8) rhyolite-related Fe deposits.
The patterns in these deposits help elucidate the overall intrusion-related metallogeny of Mexico. They provide insight into
possible controls on igneous-related mineralization. In this section, we describe the mineralization and igneous characteristic
of each type. In the concluding section, we summarize the patterns and discuss possible reasons for systematic similarities and
differences.

Greisen and Skarn W(-Mo) Deposits


Tungsten- and molybdenum-rich skarns, greisens, and pegmatitic deposits in northwestern Mexico occur with Cretaceous
to early Tel1iary biotite-bearing granitoids (Mead and others,
1988). We designate these Mo( -Cu-W) occurrences. Greisen
(coarse-grained muscovite and quartz with accessory minerals)
and pegmatite mineralization occurs with Laramide biotite-rich
granodioritic to granitic intrusions in Sonora; more mafic phases
may be present but are volumetrically minor (fig. 12a). Greisen
alteration is common in the intrusions and often post-dates a
pegmatitic stage (quartz + alkali-feldspar + biotite muscovite).
This alteration style closely resembles and may be transitional
with pegmatitic mineralization in some of the copper-rich breccia pipes (as in the Cananea and Nacozari Districts, table 2).
Significant molybdenum production has come from a few
greisen and pegmatite districts exemplified by the Cumobabi
molybdenum-copper-tungsten district in Sonora (table 2). At
Cumobabi, variably sheeted stockworks of coarse-grained quartz,
feldspar, biotite, muscovite, and tourmaline contain molybdenite, scheelite, and chalcopyrite. Early veins contain common
alkali feldspar, whereas later veins generally lack feldspar and
contain abundant muscovite and moderate pyrite. High-salinity,
high-temperature fluid inclusions and close association with late
felsic phases indicates a strong link to magmatic processes.
Conditions of mineralization (fig. 12b, c) resemble those in the
Cu(-Mo-Zn) porphyry systems with moderately sulfidizing conditions and variation from feldspar-stable to moderately acid

M. D . BARTON , J. G. STA UDE. L. ZU RCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

508

assemblages, but the Mo(-Cu-W) systems have a more lithophileelement-rich metal suite and a distinctively pegmatitic character.

Mo(-Cu-W)

extrusive ", intrusive


felsic
porphyry
hydrolytic < alkalic
Qz

C ..... . .....

300C
-5

.. ..

.-9-

10 .

- 15

::Z~;>""I
-35

Kf

-30

-25

logj02

Figure 12. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for


the CUlllobabi, Sonora Mo{-Cu-W) District. See table 2 for details and
sources.

Small tungsten skarns are widespread in carbonate-bearing


screens of the Peninsular Range, Sonora, and Sinaloa Batholiths
(Fries and Schmitter, 1945; Menchaca, 1985). These deposits
contain primarily tungsten and molybdenum with minor copper;
we designate them W-Mo(-Cu) . Associated intrusions are generally little altered, equigranular, and composite; they may be
hornblende-bearing or peraluminous. Although rocks as mafic
as diorites or gabbros are described, all of these complexes apparently have felsic variants (Fries and Schmitter, 1945; Gastil
and others, 1975) which we infer to be related to skarn formation as in the Real de Castillo District (table 2, fig. 13a). Sparse
scheelite-bearing greisen veins are the most common igneoushosted alteration in Baja California. Calcic skarns contain
grossularitic garnet -wollastonite-epidote with scheelite and
minor copper-gold-bearing quartz veins. In the San Nicolas District (table 2), calcic W-Mo-(Cu) skarns are associated with
more intensely altered (qum1z-muscovite and potassium-feldspar-quartz-biotite veins) molybdenum-bearing Laramide stocks.
Less than 100,000 tons of tungsten ore was produced from
skarn-dominated mineralization in the San Nicolas District.
Inferred conditions of formation are relatively high temperature,
moderate pressures, and moderate sulfidation state (fig. 13b).

deposits associat~d with somewhat less felsic rocks of mid-Tertiary and older age (Providencia, Concepcion del Oro, Cosala,
Zimapan, Fresnillo; see table 2). Ores in most districts are carbonate-hosted manto and chimney deposits, but veins are dominant where clastic or volcanic rocks are the host as at San
Francisco del Oro. Base-metal sulfides occur in paragenetically
and spatially zoned pyrrhotite-pyrite-carbonate-quartz-fluorite
replacements. Iron-poor metamorphic and iron-rich metasomatic calcsilicates are typically abundant near the intrusions,
where they comprise complex zinc-dominated polymetallic
skarns (Einaudi and others, 1981; Megaw and others, 1988).
Metal zoning is typically well developed from distal silver and
manganese with minor lead through a zinc- lead-silver zone to
proximal zinc-rich mineralization with minor copper, silver,
tungsten, molybdenum, and gold. The San Martin District illustI'ates many of the these features (fig. 14). It contains a large
zinc-rich copper- and tungsten-bearing skarn on the flank of a
pa111y altered composite stock; lower-temperature silver-rich
lead-zinc assemblages are superimposed on and external to the
zinc skarn.
Associated igneous rocks include ubiquitous highly felsic
dikes and sills, which mayor may not be sparsely porphyritic
(fig. 15a). Where the stocks are exposed, as in the Velardefia and
San Martin Districts (fig. 14), porphyritic to equigranular biotite( -pyroxene) quartz monzonite and monzogranite are the
major phases. Alteration in the igneous rocks has not been extensively studied but seems to consist of local endoskarn and
modestly developed sulfide-poor potassium-feldspar- and muscovite-fluorite-bearing quartz vein assemblages. At San Martin
two vein sets can be observed in the fel sites that are spatially associated with the skarns: an early discontinuous stockwork of
sulfide-poor iITegular quartz veins and younger through-going
quartz-pyrite veins with hydrolytic and endoskarn envelopes.
Timing relationships between the felsites, hydrothermal alteration, and main phases of the stocks are uncertain (Rubin and
Kyle, 1988). Connection to igneous events is demonstrated by
these relationships at San Martin and by the direct connection
between igneous breccias and chimney formation at Santa Eulalia

W(-Mo)

450C

extrusive intrusive
intermediate / felsic
skarn( / greisen)
(hydrolytic < alkalic)
Qz

Sediment-Hosted Zn-Pb-Ag(-Cu) Deposits Associated with


Felsic Intrusions

300C

r;:;:T===::::::;:::==~

-5

High-temperature sediment-hosted deposits of northern and


central Mexico are dominated by zinc, lead, and silver with
accessory copper, tungsten, molybdenum, and gold; they are
designated as Zn-Pb-Ag( -Cu) deposits. They show a characteristic association with evolved felsic igneous rocks (Naica, San
Francisco del Oro, Santa Eulalia, San Mm1in, and Velardefia
Districts; fig . 5, table 2; Megaw and others, 1988). These deposits are mid-Tertiary in age (45 to 25 Ma), and they overlap with
an analogous but more copper-rich suite of base-metal silver

Figure 13. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for selected W{-Mo) skarn and greisen deposits. See table 2 for details and
sources.

PORPHYRY C OPPER AND OTHER INTRUSION-RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

509

n Mfli1in,
catecas
rJlAg-base
monzogranite,
rhyolite porphyry ~ metal veins
..el
. Zn skarn
~ carbonate &
clastic rocks
potassic
metamorphic
sericitic
aureole
alteration

propylitic & sericitic


along Ag-PbZn( -F)-Qz veins

Ii'!!! I~~~~~i~~~J~unger
Alacran rhyolitic
intrusions & domes
older rhyolitic
. . . volcanics (are host)

II
O

cassiterite-hematite
veins & gas-phase
alteration

Figure 16. Simplified geology of the Bolanos, J alisco Ag-Pb-Zn District.


Modified from Lyons (1988a).

Figure 14_ Simplified geology of the San Martin, Zacatecas Zn-Cu-Pb-Ag


deposit Simplified from Rubin and Kyle (1988)_

(Miranda and Megaw, 1986). Petrological and geochemical studies are consistent with invol vement of igneous as well as sedimentary components in ore formation (Megaw and others,
1988). Hydrothermal conditions vary systematicall y from early,
moderately reduced and low-sulfidation state (though sulfiderich) assemblages to later, moderately oxidized and sulfidized
assemblages (fig. ISb, c). In contrast to the copper systems, alteration in the intru sions is weakJ y developed and much poorer
in total sulfide and relative volume of hydrolytic alteration.

Zn-Pb-~g(-~u-F~Sn)450'C 0 B.

extruslve intrusive
~
felsic compo
'j
replacement / skarn.s
(hydrolytic", alkalic)
Qz

-5

/" I
...... f./'
0 ... ...... ... .
./

Volcanic-Hosted Ag-Au( -Zn-F -Sn) Deposits Associated


with Felsic Intrusions
Some volcanic-hosted vein di stricts bear an obv ious if problematic relationship to rhyolitic hypabyssal intrusions. T hese are
epithermal systems in that metals occur in quartz-carbonate
veins and related stockworks. They have small vol umes of veincontrolled hydrolytic (mainly serici tic) alteration and somewhat
more extensive retrograde hydration and carbonation ("propylitic")
alteration. Metals are dominated by silver and zinc with lesser

Ag-Au(-Zn-F-Sn)

450' C 0

extrusive intrusive
felsic compo
vein
hydrolytic ~ alkalic

...:!:;
bI)

Qz

' -10

logf02

300' C 1 "... luu uumu...mu"..mu.mmm.. u1

/;;,~

-5 ...

.s
-10

, '.20
logf02

25

300' C

-5

/
N

...:!:;
~-IO

...:!:;

.s-IO

15

...

I"' j /.;
35

Pc

Kf

Figure 15. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for


polymetallic replacement and skarn deposits associated with felsic intrusions. See table 2 for details and sources.

...

Kf

Pc

"
-30

log f 02

25

Figure 17. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for


selected igneous-related vein-type Ag-Au(-Zn-F-Sn) deposits. See table 2
for details and sources .

510

M. D. BARTON, J. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

gold, lead, copper, and tin; they are designated as Ag-Au( -Zn-FSn) deposits. Fluorite is an important gangue mineral in veins.
The Bolanos District (Lyons, 1988a; table 2, fig. 16) is perhaps
the clearest example. At Bolanos, faults contain ore bodies that
are symmetrically zoned around the Tepec dome, a porphyritic
hypabyssal to volcanic rhyolite body. Central parts of the system
contain copper, tin, and silver mineralization including cassiterite-hematite veins in the Tepec dome; silver and base metals
constitute the principal ore zone away from the center. Moderate
salinity fluids, pronounced zoning around the Tepec dome, and
geological evidence consistent with mineralization broadly coeval with the Tepec intrusion led Lyons (1988a) to conclude that
the Bolanos system had a close connection to magmatism. Similar relationships are postulated in the Guanajuato District on the
basis of field and petrographic studies (Megaw, personal observation, 1994; Zantop, personal communication, 1994). As in a
number of other silver-rich epithermal systems in central
Mexico, associated igneous rocks in both districts are felsic (fig.
17a) and commonly show significant fluorine and tin enrichments. Conditions of formation for the vein systems are not well
constrained, but mineral assemblages suggest that they are only
modestly sulfidized and are strongly oxidized only near the surface, where boiling or mixing may be important (fig. 17c). In
this respect as in their general element enrichments and associated igneous rocks they resemble the felsic-associated polymetallic replacement systems described above.

Vein-Dominated Ag-Au(-Cu-Pb-Zn) Deposits Associated


with Intermediate Intrusions
A number of large vein-type precious-metal and base-metal
districts are associated with intrusive centers of intermediate
composition. Although these are primarily silver producers with
silver-gold ratios greater than 100, gold grades commonly exceed I gram per tonne. These districts are Laramide (Batopilas,
Cosala) and mid-Tertiary (Fresnillo) and have produced much
silver with significant gold and base-metals from veins, replacements, and skarns (table 2). We designate them Ag-Au(-Cu-PbZn) deposits. Although they are simi lar to many epithermal
districts, these districts differ (perhaps due to level of exposure)
in having abundant base metals, an inconspicuous elevation
control on grades, and a close relationship with intrusions (compare Buchanan, 1981). These districts are zoned from silver-rich
peripheries to higher base-metal and gold contents near to the
intrusions (fig. 18). Copper-gold mineralization occurs in intrusion-hosted stockworks or skams in the Batopilas and Cosala
DistriCts. Associated intrusive rocks are mainly intermediate in
composition (hornblende quartz diorites to biotite-hornblende
quartz monzonites, fig. 19a).
In the Batopilas District (fig. 18) two stocks contain disseminated copper mineralization associated with extensive
sericitic alteration (Wilkerson and others, 1988; Bagby, 1979).
The productive portion of the Batopilas District is strongly
zoned and bears only a general relationship to the two intrusive
centers. High silver-gold ratio, low sulfidation-state assemblages
grade to lower silver-gold ratio, more sulfidized assemblages.
Alteration in the volcanic host rocks is mainly chlorite-dominated with some sericite. The intermediate composition of the
host rocks may lead to the relative abundance of magnesian

~ chlorite / actinolite,
, . intense near veins

andesite, dacite
diorite,
granodiorite
II quartz

quartz-sericite-pyrite

Figure 18. Simplified geology of the Batopilas, Chihuahua Ag(-Au-Cu-ZnPb) District. Modified from Wilkerson and others (1988).

hydrolytic assemblages as a more mafic equivalent of sericitic alteration in felsic host rocks. At Fresnillo, Cretaceous volcanoclastic and carbonate rocks are intruded by mid-Tertiary stocks and
dikes of intermediate composition. These units host predominantly
quartz vein mineralization, but there has been significant production from zinc-lead-silver replacement bodies with minor copper
and gold near igneous contacts. High-temperature assemblages indicate relatively low sulfidation states with system evolution to
lower temperature assemblages of low to moderate sulfidation and
oxidation states (fig. 19b, c). At Batopilas, for example, hypogene
native silver is one of the most important ore minerals .

Volcanic-Hosted Au-Ag( -Cu) Deposits


Volcanic-hosted acid-sulfate systems occur in a number of
areas in the Sierra Madre Occidental, where they appear to be

Ag-Au(-Cu-Zn-Pb) 450C 0
extrusive >) intrusive

B 1----

N'

/7

:~i~G~!~~~~~karn) ;, ..,~~ .
i

10.f'--.,....,..,..,.....~,......,.-.-~.....-l

Qz

-25

300 ~5

logf

C ........ .

o;20

...:f;
,.8.10

-15

+<-r"""':;'-r-T'""T'+-'-'-T'""T'''T""'l
35

Kf

Pc

30

logf02

-25

Figure 19. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for


selected Ag-Au(-Cu-Zn-Pb) districts associated with intermediate composition intrusive rocks. See table 2 for details and sources.

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTH ER INTRUSION-RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

dacite porphyry
rhyolitic
volcanics

Au(-Cu)
mineralization
argillic /
propylitic
~advanced

~'" argillic

Figure 20. Simplified geology of the Mulatos, Sonora Au( -Ag-Cu) District.
Summarized from unpublished mapping of J.-M. Staude and J. Lyons.

related to hypabyssal intermediate to felsic intrusive centers.


These systems exhibit the high sulfidation states and advanced
arg illic alteration characteristic of this deposit type worldwide
(Heald and others, 1987). Although they are incompletely explored, they appear to have relatively high gold-to-silver ratios
(generally greater than I: 10), minor copper, and little zinc or
lead. We designate these systems Au-Ag(-Cu) deposits. Large
volumes of advanced argillic alteration suggest a relationship to
magmatic fluids such as has been proposed elsewhere (Heald
and others, 1987), but at present there is no confirming evidence. While alteration is commonly fracture-controlled, gold is
dispersed in significant volumes of strongly acid-altered, highly
silicified host rocks. In contrast, most volcanic-hosted epithermal systems in northern and central Mexico involve largely
vein-controlled alteration of the adularia-sericite type. Where
studied, these latter systems appear to have formed from dilute
meteoric fluids, possibly in shallow boiling zones with no more
than a small magmatic component.
Relatively little is known of the volcanic-hosted acid goldsilver districts, the best studied example of which is the Mulatos
Di strict in eastern Sonora. In the Mulatos region an Oligocene
dacite to rhyodacite ignimbrite sequence contains dacitic domes
and dikes which appear to be closely associated with mineralizatio n centers (Staude, unpublished data; fig . 20). Several strongly

II

511

sil ici fied, advanced argillic (pyrophyllite-kaolinite-alunite-quartz)


zones host disseminated Au-Ag( -Cu) mineralization which
averages more than I gram gold per tonne. The highest grades
(greater than 10 grams per tonne) are along quartz-pyriteenargitebarite veins. Areas of advanced argillic alteration up to
I ki lometer across are embedded within larger zones of up to 10
square kilometers of montmorillonitechloritekaolinite alteration (Staude, unpublished data) . Elsewhere in the Sierra Madre
Occidental advanced argillic alteration occurs in precious metal
districts which are associated with hypabyssal intermed iate to
felsic intrusions, but surprisingly few such districts have been
documented in the literature (fig. 21 a). In some, such as the
Guazapares District (table 2), advanced argillic alteration containing disseminated gold and silver is spatially associated with
vein-type silver-base metal mineralization. Although the advanced argill ic alteration in some of these systems may represent a deeper source of oxidized highly acidic and possibly
magmatic fluids some systems such as Guazapares may instead
represent acid caps generated by boiling over more typical
sericite-adularia-type vein systems. High-temperature mineral
assemblages are absent at the surface in these districts but have
been found by drilling. Compared to hydrothermal exposures in
other systems that are closer to stocks or deeper, Au-Ag( -Cu)
systems are relatively low temperature and formed under exceptionally sulfidized and oxid ized conditions (fig. 2 1b, c).
Rhyolite-Related F( -Su-Be-Mo) Deposits
Evolved felsic volcanic centers of the Sierra Madre Oriental
and sLIITounding areas in northeastern and central Mexico have
abundant associated fluorite and lesser but occasionally signifi cant amounts of other metals; these are designated F( -Sn-BeMo) districts. These shallow intrusive centers and supeljacent
volcanic edifices are typically metaiuminous but may be peralkaline, particularly in Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. Topaz rhyolites form an important part of this suite (Ruiz, 1985) and are
broadly continuous with the fluorine-rich silicic rocks of the Rio
Grande rift region and west Texas in the United States. These

Au-Ag(-Cu)

extrusive intrusive
intermediate comp o
vein(/ replacement)
hydrolytic alkalic

450'~"t;z1
~ /:<~ r
-5

Qz

0J

-10

to'

--

'1~gfo;2o

,I

300 'C . - - - . - - - - - - - ,
-5
N

...::;
.s-IO
-15

Kf

Pc

Vi j- '

, I "
'logfo

, -25 I
2

Figure 21. Possible igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization


for volcanic-hosted Au-Ag( -Cu) acid-sulfate mineralization. See table 2 for
details and sources.

M. D. BARTO , J. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

51 2

F(-Be-Sn-Mo)

extrusive'" intrusive
felsic (peralkaline?)
replacement
? (hydrolytic> alkalic)
Qz

300C
,S

C.

<.'f;

.9 '

10 1 0/'.,

Figure 22, Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for selected fluorine-rich hydrothermal systems associated with felsic magmatic
centers, See table 2 for details and sources,

high-silica and fluorine-rich igneous rocks are broadly similar to


the felsites associated with sediment-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag(-Cu-F)
deposits, but the intermediate composition igneous rocks associated with these deposits tend to be strongly alkaline and include
local peralkaline and undersaturated varieties (fig, 22a),
Mineral resources are dominated by fluorite (hundreds of
occurrences) with lesser amounts of beryllium, tin, and anti mony, Zinc, molybdenum , silver, and lead may be associated,
These rocks resemble alkaline rhyolites of west Texas, New
Mexico, and Colorado that have associated Climax-type porphyry molybdenum deposits (Cave Peak, Texas; Questa, New
Mexico; Climax and Henderson, Colorado), Recognized deposits are mainly lower-temperature fluorite-rich replacements (Las
Cuevas, San Luis Potosi; Aquachile, Coahuila; fig, 22a, table 2),
and small OCCUlTences of wood tin (gas phase cassiterite) are
common, Sulfides are rare in these shallow systems , High-temperature alteration includes topaz-bearing assemblages, whereas
lower temperature alteration is generally clay (commonly kaolinite)-quartz, Clearly fluorine-rich skarn-type occurrences,
such as Guadalcazar and Charcas, San Luis Potosi, may represent transitions to alkaline fluorine-rich replacement deposits, In
contrast to the typical felsite-associated Zn-Pb-Ag( -Cu-F) replacement and vein systems, sulfides tend to be sparse except in
late assemblages, Consequently the conditions of formation of
these deposits are somewhat more oxidized and less sulfidized
than those of the Zn-Pb-Ag(-Cu-F) deposits (compare fig, 22b,
c with figs, 15b, c, 17c),

11

1m ~~:;.carbonate

epidote-chlorite
-albite / oligoclase

I~ I~:t::~~~ ~~~~dSpar)
;j'

replacement

Figure 23, Simplified geology of the Pena Colorada iron deposit, Colima,
Simplified from unpublished mapping of L. Zurcher and Pena Colorada
staff.

be Cretaceous, Proximal magnetite( -hematite) skarns are developed in carbonate and andesitic rocks in western Baja California
and from Guerrero to Chiapas, Minor pyrite and chalcopyrite
are present, typically late in the paragenesis, Gold is present in
some of these systems such as Bermejal and Nukay, The
Bermejal deposit is reported to contain 18 million tonnes of resource at I part per million gold (Page, 1993; De la Garza, 1994),

450C 0 . . - - - - , - - - - - - - ,

Fe(-Au-Cu)

extrusive < intrusive


intermediate
skarn / replacement
hydrolytic < alkalic (Na)
Qz

300C

Diorite-Related Fe(-Au-Cu) Deposits


Small to moderate sized iron-ox ide-rich and variably goldand copper-bearing skarn and replacement deposits, designated
Fe( -Au-Cu), are widespread in southern and westernmost
Mexico where they are associated with stocks of intermediate
composition (hornblende-pyroxene diorites to monzonites),
Field relationships are consistent with most of these deposits being Mesozoic in age, In northwestern Mexico they may be as
old as Jurassic, whereas in southern Mexico most are likely to

diorite / syenite
& andesite dikes
volcanic and
clastic rocks

,S

~T===:::::::::::==:=1

C.

. ~

Las
ruchas
Kf

. ......... ............. .

,IS """'':';,3''-Sr-T"'"T""T-<
'3i-Or-T"'"T""T--',-I
2S

logf02

Figure 24. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for Fe(Cu-Au) skarns. See table 2 for details and sources.

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTHER INTRUSION-RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

51 3

Magnetite(-hematite) bodies occur at Pena ColOI'ada with


extensive oxidized garnet (andradite)-pyroxene skarn and a later
ch lorite-epidote-pyrite-chalcopyrite-talc overprint which may
be associated with hematitization (fig. 23). Late potassium-feldspar-biotite-quartz-apatite assemblages cut the skarn at both
Pena ColOI'ada and Las Truchas. Alteration in the dioritic intrusive rocks is described as endoskarn, but the distribution and relationship to intrusive phases are not well known. Geochemical
studies at Pena ColOI'ada (ZUrcher, unpublished) indicate that intrusive components dominated skarn formation , but the ultimate
source of the fluids is yet to be resolved. These systems occur
with igneous suites of intermediate composition and of poorly
known oxidation state and alkalinity (fig. 24a). Available mineralogical information suggests that the systems have relatively
low sulfidation and oxidation states in their high-temperature
(main) stages and evolve to modestly sulfide-rich, oxidized assemblages during late retrograde skarn formation (fig. 24b, c).

Rhyolite-Related Fe Deposits
Iron-oxide ore bodies are associated with a number of midTertiary felsic volcanic centers east of the Sierra Madre Occidental in north-central Mexico. Significant production has come from
the Cerro de Mercado, La Perla, and Hercules deposits in
Durango and Chihuahua (table 2, fig. 5). These deposits are characterized by massive hematite-magnetite bodies that are broadly
conformable with coeval (?) latitic to rhyolitic volcanic rocks. Hydrothermal alteration is variably developed and consists of common hydrolytic (clay-dominated) alteration with silicification and
calc-silicate alteration to various extents. Sulfides are sparse and
late in the paragenesis and non-ferrous metals appear to be absent,
but apatite, sulfates, and fluorite can be common.
The Cerro de Mercado deposit (fig. 25) is the largest of
these systems and is associated with the Chupaderos caldera
complex near the city of Durango. This deposit has been described in detail by Lyons (1975, 1988b), Fel ix (1978), and
Labarthe and others (1988). The iron oxide-rich bodies of this
deposit are largely conformable with their enclosing volcanic
pile and appear to be localized near an intracaldera vent. This
area also centers extensive hydrothermal alteration of volcanic
rocks consisting of pyroxene-rich replacement (loosely termed
"skarn") and laterally extensive silicification and clay alteration.
The conformable nature of the deposit and its association with
iron-rich volcanic rocks led Lyons (1988b) and some others to
conclude that the main mass of the iron-oxide body represented
an oxide-rich magma with superimposed hydrothermal and gasphase alteration . In contrast, Felix (1978) and Labarthe and others (1988) felt that the ores were hydrothermal and had largely
replaced particular units of the volcanic series. Rare-earth elements are strongly concentrated in the late hydrothermal apatites
associated with si licification and topaz rhyolite in the same
caldera complex has minor wood tin mineralization. The La
Perla and Hercules deposits are less intensively studied but
share the same enigmatic origin. Apatite is sparse at La Perla but
fluorite and sulfates are abundant. These systems are very shallow and are associated with latitic to rhyolitic volcanic and hypabyssal intrusive centers (fig. 26a). Mineralization is relatively
oxidized and sulfur-poor with evidence for abundant sulfate and
strong late-stage hypogene oxidation (fig. 26b, c).

...

It

argillization &
quartz latite &1 ;++1 silicification
rhyolite flows l~llj~~1 sodic (Na-pyroxene)
"""
.
and dikes
Fe OXide tuff (?)
/ replacement (?)
Figure 25. Simplified geology of the Cerro de Mercado iron deposit,
Durango. Simplified from Lyons (1988b).

METALLOGENIC PATTERNS AND POSSIBLE


CONTROLS
The characteristics of porphyry copper and other intrusionrelated mineralization in Mexico exhibit many systematic patterns. In this section we outline the general patterns that emerge
when comparing the particular deposit types. Metal and alteration types bear systematic relationships to igneous composi tions, host rocks, and depth and broad patterns are apparent in

Fe(-REE)

450'C oJ

extrusive intrusive
felsic (peralkaline?)
replacement (?)
hydrolytiC =<' alkalic (Na)

/.."

~~

OIl -5

.s

Qz

BJ.- . . . ... . .~>7.1

...::;

i-------.rl!Zi''''':

10 .... ,

;20
o

.25 logf

300~C5 t?J

, I

m........m . / / /

...::;

.s00_10
15

1. .

I/o' ,

35

Kf

Pc

-30

logf02

25

Figure 26. Igneous compositions and conditions of mineralization for iron


oxide deposits associated with felsic magmatic centers. See table 2 for
details and sources .

M. D. BARTON, J. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER A D P. K. M. MEGAW

514

Qz

Qz

Qz

Qz

1\

1\

1\

1\

Ag-Au(-Zn-F-Sn) F(-Be-Sn-Mo) Zn-Pb-Ag(-Cu-F-Sn)

Fe(-REE)

~ Uru~

Kf

Qz

Pc

1\

Au-Ag(-Cu)

Kf

Qz

Pc

7-M;;:~
Kf

Qz

Pc

1\

ru
Mo(-Cu-W)

Kf

~D

Pc

Igneous
Summary
Qz

1\

7-AU-~

Cu(-Au-Fe)

Kf

Pc

1\

Ag-Au(-Cu-Zn-Pb)

Pc

Qz

1\

1\

Kf

Qz

.:-::::::::::}\:
Kf

Pc

Kf

Pc

Figure 27. Summary of igneous compositions associated with various minerai deposit types.

the temporal and spatial distribution as has been noted by others


(for example, Clark and others, 1982).
We also present some general relationships that appear to
be helpful in understanding these patterns. Likely controls on the
characteristics of igneous-related mineralization can be grouped
according to (I) the nature of the processes involved (mobilization, transport, and deposition of materials) , (2) the exposure
and preservation of appropriate crustal levels, and (3) the influence of varying lithospheric provinces on the compositions of
ore-forming systems. Each of these is almost certainly important
in the metallogeny of Mexico, but the relative importance of
each is not clear.

Compositional Correlations: Igneous and Hydrothermal


Magmatic and hydrothermal compositions are broadly correlated. This is illustrated in figure 27, which summarizes the
compositional ranges for igneous rocks associated with the various metal suites presented above. The salient aspect of this
diagram is the general change in metal suites from siderophileand chalcophile-element dominated suites associated with mafic
to intermediate rocks to the chalcophile- to lithophile-element
dominated suites associated with the more felsic rocks. This compositional correlation has been long appreciated (e.g. , Lindgren,
1933; Mitchell and Garson, 1981) and has been extensively promoted on the basis of empirical correlations (for example, Keith,
1986; Keith and Wilt, 1986). Metaluminous and oxidized systems appear to be broadly base-metal rich. Strongly alkaline
(notably, low CaO) systems appear to be dominated by fluorine
and other lithophile elements, and strongly peraluminous systems typically have lithophile elements with significant base
metals. Subtler distinctions can be made on the basis of variables such as alkalinity and oxidation state, but the general controls on these features remain enigmatic. The paucity of a good
mineralogical and chemical data for Mexico currently precludes
detailed analysis.
Complementary to the metal-igneous compositional correlation is the correlation between hydrothermal mineral associations, their total and relative abundances, and the chemical
conditions that they represent. These relationships are summa-

rized in table I and figure 28. Virtually all systems appear to


show a strong tendency towards more oxidized and sulfidized
assemblages with time. Within this general trend further distinction is evident between alkaline and mafic systems compared to
felsic metaluminous and peraluminous systems. The former are
dominated by iron-oxides with relatively minor base metals,
whereas the latter have considerably more sulfide-rich assemblages and base metals.
The types of hydrothermal alteration and their relative
abundance also change systematically with igneous rocks and
metal suites. In aluminous host rocks (mainly igneous), alkalic
and hydrolytic alteration show considerable variation (see for
example, Barton and others, 1991 b). In carbonate host rocks,
skarn and replacement mineralization are likewise variable
(Einaudi and others, 1981). Alkalic alteration (common potassic, rare sodic) is found in vi11ually all types of systems (table I)
but is quite variably developed: Potassic alteration is best developed in deeper exposures and intermediate to felsic rock types,
while sodic alteration is apparently restricted to some dioritic
and alkaline systems such as Pena ColOl'ada and Cerro de Mercado (table 2). Hydrolytic alteration including greisen, sericitic,
chloritic, and advanced argillic types is more variable and typically more voluminous in most systems than alkalic alteration.
In subalkaline felsic systems (as opposed to mafic or alkaline
systems) muscovite or sericite typically makes up a greater fraction of the overall alteration. For example, in strongly peraluminous suites muscovite-rich greisen-type assemblages may
comprise virtually the only alteration type (see Barton, 1987),
whereas in peralkaline systems hydrolytic alteration may be
effectively absent as at Aguachile (table 2). Carbonate-hosted
alteration (table 2) follows the worldwide patterns outlined by
Einaudi and others (1981). Oxidized skarns (andrad ite magnetite rich) predominate with copper and iron systems, whereas
more pyroxene-rich reduced or manganese-rich skarns are more
common with zinc-lead-silver and tungsten-molybdenum system s. Replacement bodies yield analogous patterns. Fluorite is
prominent in replacements related to alkalic intrusions and is the
dominant mineral in some deposits such as Aguachile.

C\I

~U)

p'Y

0)

fV1t

Figure 28. Generalized redox and sulfidation trends for classes of mineralization.

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTH ER INTRUSION-RELAT ED MINERALI ZATION IN MEXICO

Chemical Interpretation of Igneous-Hydrothermal


Correlations

mentary fluid-bearing reacti ons are:

The pronounced corre lations between igneous compositions and hydrothermal features point to a widespread control of
hydrothermal systems by rel ated igneous rocks or magmas. It is
widely accepted that magmatic fluid s are important in the formation of intrusion-related ore deposits but compositional COITelations alone do not require this mechanism. Geochem ical
evidence for involvement of other fluids in intrusion-related
mineralization abounds (for example, Guilbert and Park , 1986).
Equilibration of other fluids circulating through intrusive and
volcanic rocks could well provide many of the characteristics
that di stinguish particular deposit types . For example, intrusionrelated volcanic-hosted iron-oxide-apatite depos its in Nevada
(which have many similarities to the iron-oxide de posits of central Mex ico) formed by circulation of evaporitic brines through
mafic and fel sic intrusions, leading to analogous though quite
different alteration assemblages and element enrichments in the
mafic and felsic hosts (Barton and others, 1991 c; Johnson and
others, 1993).
Igneous compositions could exert a basic control on the
nature of rel ated hydrothermal systems through some combination of original element enrichments and chemical equilibria.
Original elemental enrichments are demonstrably impol1ant in
some environments such as in ultramafic suites (Guilbert and
Park, 1986). Systematics of regional metallogenic patterns also
suggest control from crustal and igneous enrichments (for example, Titley, 1991; Mitchell and Garson, 1981). It is equally
evident, however, that other process-related (i.e., chemical) controls are invol ved as is illustrated by the common close proximity of dramatically different metal and alteration suites (see, for
example, fig . 5; see also Barton, 1990). Many compositional
control s have been advocated: alkalinity, oxidation state, alumina
saturation, and halogen ratios to name a few. One approac h to
synthesizing compositional controls on fluids equilibrated with
igneous rocks is shown in figure 29. In this figure the chemical
potentials of lime (CaO) and alumina (AI,03) are used to quantify relationships among qUaI1z-bearing igneous mineral asse mblages, alkalinity, alumina saturation, and fluid compositions.
These relationshjps are briefly outlined here; the thermodynamic concepts are di scussed elsewhere for purely igneous
problems (for example, Carmichael and others, 1974). Oxide
components can be related to igneous minerals by the following
types of reactions:
[AI,oJ + KAISiP, + H,O = KAI,[AISi,o IO](OH),
[AI,oJ + 2NaFeSi,0 6+ 2SiO, = 2NaAISi,o~ + Fe,O,
[CaO] + MgSi0 3 + SiO, = CaMg[Si,0 6]
[CaO] + [AI,0 3] + 2SiO, = CaAI,Si,Os

(Ia)
(I b)
(I c)
(I d)

The first two reactions illustrate restrictions on alumina


saturation: two-mica granites are limited by (I a) and peralkaline
systems are limited by (Ib). Reaction (Ic) gives one of several
limits on the distribution of tholeiitic (orthopyroxene present)
rocks. Plagioclase is ubiquitous, but its composition across the
diagram is given by reaction (I d). Simplified representation
of each of these reactions are shown in figure 29a, with corresponding rock and metal types illustrated in figure 29b. Comple-

..,

515

3[CaO] + 3FeTiO, + 3SiO, + 1120, =


3CaTiSiO, + Fe,o.
[CaO J + 2HF = CaF, + H,o
[AI,o ,[ + 2Na++ 6SiO, + H,o =
2NaAISi ,O, + 2W

(2a)
(2b)
(2c)

The first reaction (2a) illustrates that the impol1ant redox


boundary between ilmenite-bearing and titanite-magnetite-bearing rocks is a function of the activity of CaO in addition to the
oxidation state. Lime-rich rocks will form titanite under more
reduced conditions than will lime-poor rocks. The second reaction (2b) illustrates the importance of CaO activity to the mobility and enrichment of fluorine in hydrothermal systems (Barton,
1987). Fluorine mobility is suppressed in all but alkali-rich
rocks, but there are no constraints imposed by the AI,o, activity.
This rationali zes the strong hydrothermal enrichment of fluorin e
in multiple types of peraluminou s- to peralkaline-associated
Mexican ore deposits (table 2).
The third reaction (2c) represents a fundamental mineralogical control on fluid acidity. Reaction 2c indicates that for a
constant ac tivity of sodium ion (that is, for fluids of approximately constant sali nity) a pH decrease of one uni t will occur for
every two unit increase in ac tivity of alumina. As a result,
peralkaline rocks are about 2 pH units more alkaline than corresponding peraluminous rocks (fig. 29a). Acidity, in turn, has a
profound effect on the mobility of most metals because of reactions such as:
ZnS + 2H+= Zn'+ + H,S
ZnS + [AI,O,[ + 2Na++ 6SiO, + H,O =
2NaAISi,o, + Zn'+ + H,S

(3a)
(3b)

Con sequently, if other things are equal, most metals will become substantiall y more soluble with increasing activity of alumina (that is, in metaluminous and peraluminous rocks). These
relationships help explain the abundance of base metals assoc iated with peraluminous and modestly calcic metal uminous
systems and the virtual absence of metals associated with peralkaline systems (fig. 29b). Furthermore, this relationship predicts the observed increase in the abundance and proportion of
hydrolytic alteration in felsic metaluminous and peraluminous
systems. In greisen-type alteration, which is characteristically
associated with peraluminous igneous rocks, secondary white
micas form in vil1ually all assemblages.
Mineralogical reactions ac t in concel1 with other impol1ant
factors in controlling fluid acidity, oxidation state, and
sulfidation state. Higher chlorine contents usually make solutions more reactive and better transporting agents. Fluid sulfur
contents contribute to acidity through hydrolysis of magmatic
SO, (Burnham and Ohmoto, 1980):
4S0, + 4H,O - 3HSO.- + 3W + H,S
(decreasing temperature)

(4)

Another result is that high total oxidized sulfur content produces relatively high sulfidation states consistent with the following reactions:

M. D. BARTON. J. G. STAUDE. L ZURCHER AND P K. M. MEGAW

516

+ 2H ~S =2Hp + 1 .5S ~
HSO.- + W + 3H ~ S = 4Hp + 2S ~

so~

Time-Space Correlations: Metals, Depth and Style

(Sa)
(5b)

Many factors beyond chemical controls influence the style


and distribution of mineralization. Alteration types and metal
contents vary with exposure level and depth of emp lacement.
The fi lters of preservation and ex posure complicate the identification and interpretation of patterns in space that reflect differences in crustal composition.
Relative depths of exposure and emplacement range widely.
A qualitative ass ignment of exposure levels and compositions
for the deposits li sted in table 2 is shown in figure 30a. This is
based primarily on the textures and metamorphic grade of intrusive and host rocks and to a lesser extent on quantitative est imates from petrology, fluid inclusions, and stratigraphy. A
rough distribution of metals is given in figure 30b. As is true
worldwide, shallow systems in Mexico are dominated by moderate to low temperature vein and replacement mineralization
with widely varying degrees of wall-rock alteration. Alteration
is prominent in some su lfur-rich precious nietal systems such as
Mulatos and sparse in sulfur-poor systems such as Bolanos.
Skarn and porphyry-like systems of many varieties develop at
deeper crustal levels. The deepest systems are characterized by
equigranular intrusive rocks , sparse igneous-hosted alteration ,
skarns, and regional metamorphism and probably represent both
the bottoms of productive system s and various leve ls of unproductive systems. Although there are good reasons to think that
some systems such as some porphyry copper and ac id-sulfate

These reactions explain the voluminous pyrite-rich hydrolytic alteration present in sulfur-rich intermediate to felsic systems such as Cu( -M o-Zn) and Au-Ag( -Cu) deposits (fig. 28)
and complement the alumina activity effect which can produce
dominant acid alteration without necessarily having the highly
sulfidized (or oxidized) assemblages encountered in some W
(-Mo-Cu) systems.
The nearly universal trend of lower to higher oxidation and
su lfidation states with time (fig. 28) follows from the behavior
of reactions (Sa, b) and (6a, b).
SO~ + Hp = H ~S + 1.50,
HSO.- + W = H,S + 20 ~

(6a)
(6b)

With decreasing temperature, these fluid reactions interact


with mineral reactions in such a way as to produce more oxygenand su lfur-rich mineral assemblages (see Burnham and Ohmoto,
1980). Consequently, reduced and su lfur-poor assemblages containing magnetite, pyrrhotite, iron-silicates, and iron-rich sphalerite
are typically superseded by oxidized and sulfur-rich assemblages
containing hematite, pyrite, and iron- poor sphalerite. This explanation is not unique because sim ilar oxidation paths can result from
other mechanisms such as mixing with surface waters or sulfatebearing connate fluids (see, for example, Megaw and others, 1988).

lime-alumina activities
in quartz-saturated
igneous rocks

octl
o

ctS

generalized metal
and rock types

-5.00

-5.00

-5.50

-5.50

-6.00

0 -6.00
ctl

ctS

-6.50

C)

-6.50

C)

0
-7.00

-7.00

-7.50

-7.50

-8 . 00~===..,..===,.....=~~

-3.00

-2.00

log

-1 .00

0.00

8AI203

Figure 29. Activity of lime (CaO) versus activity of alumina (AI,O,) diagrams appropriate to igneous-related mineralization. Calculated at 600C
using thermodynamic data from Helgeson and others (1978)_ A. Some lim-

-8.00-+-.....1..--...,....---...,...._...._""'"
-3.00
-2.00
-1.00
0.00

log

8AI203

iting reactions involving solids and(or) fluids. B. Generalized distribution


of major rock and metal types. See text for discussion.

PORPH YRY COPPER AND OT HER INTRUS ION-RELATED MINERALI ZATI ON IN MEXICO

CIl

basaltic
andesite

andesite

dacite rhyodacite

rhyolite

5 17

alkali
rhyolite

.::c.
<..J

<..J

c
CCI
<..J

"0
>,
CIl

....c.

J:

'Vi

...
::l

CD

...

.l
::l
C

~
.Ql
::l

cO)

[d

two-mica granite
alkali granite
granodiorite
monzogranite
diorite Qz diorite/tonalite
syenite
mafic
monzonite

Composition

Au

Ag

Fe

Cu

Zn

General
Distribution
of Metals

Figure 30. Genera lized composition-depth relationships a mong selected


districts from table 2. This is not meant to imply that most districts a re
stacked. Depths of mineralization likely dilTer between districts. See text

It

felsic

fo r discussion. A. Schematic dist ribution. B. Generalized metal distributions (same coordinates as in A).

M. D. BARTON. J. G. STAUDE, L. ZURCHER AND P. K. M. MEGAW

SI8

gold systems may be stacked, it seems unlikely that most are


stacked. Instead, economic mineralization may form at substantially different and restricted levels in the upper crust depending
on the nature of the magma (water content, volume, and emplacement mechanism) and the host (reactivity, permeability,
and readiness of deformation).
The general spatial distribution of igneous-related ore deposits in Mexico described above has been extensively treated
by other investigators (Clark and others, 1982; Damon and others, 1983; Salas, 1975). This distribution is marked by a first
order change from siderophile-element enriched ore su ites in the
west through chalcophile to lithophile element suites in the east.
Because this cOlTesponds to the eastward progression of the
locus of magmatism from the Mesozoic through the mid-Tertiary, these characteristics also correlate with age. There is also a
broadly comparable change from relatively fe lsic systems in
northern and central Mexico to predominantly intermediate systems in southern Mexico. In addition to these regional changes,
many regions show multiple mineralizing events of different
types. For example, in northwestern Mexico (particularly Sonora)
over 1,000 volcanic- and intrusive-associated occurrences range
from Fe(-Cu-Au) skarns to Cu(-Mo-Zn) porphyries and skarns
to Pb-Zn-Ag(-Cu-W) replacements to Au-Ag(-Cu) epithermal
systems (Staude, 1994) . Such temporal variations are as important as differences in province among northwestern, eastern, and
southern Mexico.

i~ .

G?

Wil

The distribution of intrusion-related copper deposits shown


in figure 31 illustrates the relationship between magmatism,
mineralization, and level of exposure. Most deposits, and particularly those of Laramide age, are concentrated somewhat
inland in western Mexico. To the east only scattered copper occurrences and no major deposits are described. Most Laramide
copper deposits occur along a broad trend that corresponds to a
belt of subequal exposures of Laramide volcanic and intrusive
rocks (fig. 31; see also fig. 3). The central and southern p0l1ions
of this trend are partly buried by the mid-Tertiary ignimbrites of
the Sierra Madre Occidental. In western Sonora as in southern
Mexico many Laramide intrusive systems are fairly deeply
eroded, exposing eq uigranular stocks with little or no volcanic
rock. Corresponding mineralization typically consists of small
copper skarns with little alteration in associated igneous rocks.
In Sonora these deeper exposures con'espond to the region that
underwent the greatest mid-Tertiary extension (Staude, unpublished data, 1994; Anderson and others, 1993; Stewart and
Roldn, 1994). East of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Laramide
stocks and volcanic rocks are sparse and copper mineralization
has been noted in only a few centers. Older batholithic complexes in Baja California and Sinaloa lack sign ificant copper
mineralization except in the few regions where coeval volcanic
rocks are preserved as near EI Arco. Younger copper systems are
known in southern Mexico where volcano-plutonic complexes
have been moderately dissected, but the occun'ence of por-

Preservation &
Exposure

Intrusion-related
Cu distict
Mid-Tertiary volcanics

II Extrusive

Intrusive

Figure 31. Distribution of intrusion-related copper deposits compared to


the distribution of volcanic and intrusive rocks. The middle Tertiary volcanic rocks are shown in light gray to emphasize their role as cover. The

older igneous rocks have different timing relationships in different regions


(see figs. 2-4 for details).

PORPHYRY COPPER AND OTHER INTRUSION -RELATED MINERALIZATION IN MEXICO

phyry-type mineralization is problematic to the nOlth along the


less-dissected mid-Tel1iary volcanic province of the Sierra
Madre Occidental.
Provincial patterns in other intrusion-related deposit types
are analogous to the copper-rich systems. For example, silverrich "belts" in the Siena Madre Occidental and areas to the east
(Clark and others, 1982) largely correspond to regions of more
abundant felsic magmatism and favorable host rocks: Volcanic
rocks host vein-type silver-gold-Iead-zinc deposits in the Sierra
Madre Occidental and carbonate rocks host the replacement and
skarn Zn-Pb-Ag( -Cu-F) deposits of the Mesa Central and Sierra
Madre Oriental. In some districts such as San Francisco del Oro
and Fresnillo, vein and replacement mineralization formed in
contrasting host rocks as parts of single events (Grant and Ruiz,
1988; MacDonald and others, 1986). The tungsten province of
Sonora and Baja California (Mead and others, 1988) corresponds to areas of continental basement, granitic magmatism,
and relatively deep exposures.

Time-Space Controls: Preservation and Crustal Province


The depth of emplacement of intrusions and the depth of
formation of related hydrothermal systems strongly impacts the
energy and mass transfer processes that form ores as well as
geological preservation-exposure potential. Level of exposure
due to erosion, tectonic denudation, and burial subsequent to
mineralization governs our knowledge of existing systems and
our ability to infer the distribution of systems in the past. Depth
is impOltant primarily because pressure controls the nature of
second boiling; the distribution coefficients of metals and ligands
between melts, minerals, and fluids; the available thermomechanical energy; and the availability of external fluids (Barton and others, 1991b, see figure 27, p. 817; Burnham and
Ohmoto, 1980; Hemley and others, 1992). There are two consequences: Different levels of emplacement will generate fluids
with widely varying capacities to transport metals and generate
wall-rock alteration, and different levels of exposure can reveal
substantially different parts of the same types of systems. It
seems likely that the distinctions between the major districts
illustrated in this paper are the result of differing levels of economic mineraliz~tion in the former case and stacked systems in
the latter. In addition, the abundance of deposits of all types
should con'elate with the abundance of magmatism. For example,
the porphyry copper provinces of Sonora-Sinaloa and southern
Mexico may represent the centers of their respective arcs, regions where the largest volumes of compositionally appropriate
magmas were generated.
The metallogenic changes that take place from west to east
in Mexico have been interpreted as a consequence of variable
subduction angle (Clark and others, 1982) and differences in
crustal composition (Campa and Coney, 1983). Although both
factors may be significant, the superposition of different intrusion-related deposit types in the same region as in Sonora demonstrates that process controls, probably chemical, are important
(compare Barton, 1990). Porphyry copper provinces extend across
terrane boundaries, as from the Precambrian cratonic region of
northern Sonora to the eugeoclinal terranes to the south and west
(compare figs. I and 5). In roughly the same regions of the
Siena Madre Oriental, Tertiary intrusive systems include both

II

519

copper-rich deposits associated with intermediate stocks and


fluorine-dominated deposits associated with highly fel sic stocks
like Concepcion del Oro and Gualdcazar. Analogous juxtapositions elsewhere include dioritic and granodioritic porphyry systems such as La Verde and Ingmlran in Michoacan and porphyry
copper and silver-base metal-tin-fluorine systems such as Malpica and Bolanos in the central Guerrero terrane.
Metallogenic patterns reflect the multiple factors involved
in creating, exposing, and preserving intrusion-related deposits.
Models based on only one or a few parameters are unlikely to
fully explain the wide variations in the compositions, timing,
and distribution of intrusion-related mineralization in Mexico.
Lithospheric compositions provide a largely time-independent
framework that fixes potential contributions to magmas and
metal inventories as well as potential host rocks. Transient characteristics are also important in governing the compositions and
evolution of magmatic and hydrothermal systems. These characteristics include thermal regimes state of stress, and availability of external fluids. Magma compositions are thus a function
of many factors including an uncertain subduction contribution
and the composition, thermal budget, and state of stress of the
lithosphere (see, for example, Wilson, 1989). During emplacement, the compositions of external fluids and host rock influence chemical reactions and the state of stress and thermal
structure influence permeability and fluid paths. Lastly, preservation and exposure limit our ability to interpret ancient and
modern distributions because we can observe only the uppermost modern crust. Resolving magmatic and upper crustal controls from the broader effects of provincial controls is a
continuing challenge that requires better definition of the temporal, spatial, and compositional interrelationships between tectonism, magmatism, and mineralization.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This paper is one product of an ongoing research and data
collection project supported by the University of Arizona Mexico-mineraI-resource consortium. We gratefully acknowledge
the company SUpp0I1 that has made this possible. Additional
support for work on igneous-related ore deposits has been
provided by the National Science Foundation (grants EAR
91-17372 and EAR 90-96294). Fred McDowell and Joaquin
Ruiz have contributed significantly to our understanding of the
igneous history of Mexico. John Dreier provided helpful information on a number of deposits. Finally, we appreciate the assistance and patience of the editors of this volume.

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