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Character and Occurrence of Copper, Molybdenum, Lead, Zinc, Gold and Silver Mineral Deposits in the United States

William B. Wray, Jr., Mining Exploration Technology for Lawyers and Landmen (1980)

This paper is concerned with describing the geologic character and occurrence of deposits of certain important non-ferrous metals—copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, gold and silver— in the United States. This is a vast topic, worthy of a lifetime (or more) of study and corresponding space to report the results of such study,1 and accordingly this paper can do little more than attempt to survey the subject and provide an overview of some general facts and common characteristics which may be of value to the landman, attorney, or other non-geologist seeking to understand for professional purposes somewhat of the nature of domestic mineral deposits.

Covered in this paper are brief discussions of (i) the geochemistry, definition, and distribution of mineral deposits of the six subject metals, (ii) the classification of the mineral deposits, and (iii) the occurrence and general physical characteristics (size, shape, vertical extent, character and minerology of ores, attitudes of the mineralized zones, and other characteristics) of the mineral deposits. Not covered, as outside the scope of this paper, are such subjects as the general geologic framework of the mineral deposits, the methods of recognition of mineralization and associated rock alteration in the field and laboratory, the techniques of exploration and evaluation of mineral deposits, and the economics of development a