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Geology of the Palo Verde Ranch Area, Owl Head Mining District, Pinal County, ArizonaA 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.
Stratigraphy and Depositional History of the Pantano Formation (Oligocene-Early Miocene), Pima County, ArizonaThe Pantano Formation comprises 1,250 m of alluvial, fluvial, lacustrine, and volcanic rocks deposited in a basin formed in response to regional extension during mid- Tertiary time in southeastern Arizona. During deposition, the locations and composition of sediment source areas varied as contemporaneous uplift occurred adjacent to the basin. The lower half of the formation was deposited as alluvial fans that prograded northward, westward, and southward; the upper half was deposited during southwestward retreat of alluvial fan deposition and the onset of lacustrine deposition. An andesite flow separates the two depositional regimes. Radiometric dates of 24.4 ± 2.6 m.y. B.P. for the andesite and 36.7 ± 1.1 m.y. B.P. for a rhyolitic tuff disconformably underlying the formation indicate that deposition occurred during Oligocene to early Miocene time. Proper stratigraphic sequencing and description, paleocurrent analysis, and gravel provenance study aided in understanding the depositional history of the formation.