January 18, 2012
Geology professor describes how precious metal (Au-Ag) deposits are related to past subduction and subsequent magmatic activity
Matt Brueseke, assistant professor of geology, and colleague published "Volatility of Se and Te during subduction-related distillation and the geochemistry of epithermal ores of the western United States" in Economic Geology, an international scientific journal.
They argued that elements that are commonly found in epithermal precious metal deposits (e.g. Au, Ag, Te, Se, Hg, As, Sb, and Tl) are linked through devolatilization during subduction, subsequent mantle melting, and magma degassing. The implications of this study explain the continent-scale distribution of Se and Te-rich epithermal deposits in North America and suggest that the underlying mantle in the western United States is still enriched in metals.