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Paleoclimatological Factors Influencing the Formation of Mississippi Valley-Type (MVT) Pb-Zn Deposits: Timothy S. White

Project Title: Paleoclimatological Factors Influencing the Formation of Mississippi Valley-Type (MVT) Pb-Zn Deposits
Mendenhall Fellow: Timothy S. White, (907) 787-7000,
Duty Station: Anchorage, Alaska
Start Date: July 6, 2001
Education: Ph.D. (major/minor?), Penn State University, 1999
Research Advisor: Dwight Bradley, (907) 787-7434,
Project Description: Because MVT Pb-Zn deposits form in carbonate rocks in distal foreland basin settings but do not occur in most carbonate platforms and seldom occur in most sedimentary basins, some researchers have suggested the deposits are not formed by "normal" sedimentary basin processes. Given the known connections between tectonics and climate, and between metallogeny and tectonics, an important link between metallogeny and climate may exist. This project explores the potential role of climate in the formation of MVT Pb-Zn deposits.

Our approach has two equally important facets. First, taking advantage of recent advances in MVT Pb-Zn deposit age dating, we are comparing the oxygen isotopic composition of carbonate gangue minerals (culled from the literature) with those values we generate from carbonate minerals in paleogeographically and stratigraphically proximal paleosols. The paleosol carbonates provide insight into the oxygen isotopic composition of meteoric waters and therefore may allow us to examine the role of precipitation and meteoric recharge in the formation of MVT Pb-Zn deposits. Second, this project includes collaboration between the USGS and the EMS Environment Institute at Penn State where a library of global general circulation model simulations for much of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic exists. By plotting the location of the well-dated MVT Pb-Zn deposits on the appropriate paleoclimatic reconstruction, we hope to assess the commonality or difference(s) in modeled paleoclimatic settings between the various deposits.

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Last modified: 16:08:33 Thu 13 Dec 2012