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Geology of the Palo Verde Ranch Area, Owl Head Mining District, Pinal County, Arizona
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- A quartz diorite intrusion of probable early Tertiary age that crops out over at least 6 square miles in the Palo Verde Ranch area in Pinal County, Arizona was mapped as a distinct intrusion. The quartz diorite intrudes an area comprising Pinal Schist, Oracle granite, andesitic flows, granoaplite, and dike rocks including both pegmatite and diabase. Two major physical features, the Owl Head Buttes and Chief Buttes volcanic areas, both remnants of an extensive early Tertiary series of flows of intermediate composition that covered the area, now remain as lava-capped buttes above the pediment. Weak but persistent fracture-controlled copper mineralization is found in the quartz diorite and the Pinal Schist at or near their mutual contacts in the form of chrysocolla, malachite, black copper oxides, chalcocite, chalcopyrite, and bornite, in decreasing order. Pyrite is rare. Alteration related to northeast and northwest-trending fractures increases in intensity from the common propylitic to argillic to the northeast toward the San Juan claims area. A barely discernible increase in copper sulfides mirrors the alteration zoning, although geochemical sampling showed background copper in the quartz diorite to be more uniform away from fractures.
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- University of Arizona
- Committee Chair:
- Guilbert, John M.
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