- GeoRef, Copyright 2008, American Geological Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Society of Economic Geologists. Reference includes data from Bibliography and Index of North American Geology, U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, United States
Much of the disagreement over "epigenetic" and "syngenetic" deposits is semantic; some ores and altered rocks are in part syngenetic and in part epigenetic and for them the term "diplogenetic" is proposed. All these terms are primarily time terms related to the contemporaneity of the deposit and the enclosing rock, but in a secondary sense they are space terms; they do not, however, imply process of formation or source of the chemical constituents. Process or source terms such as "magmatic," "hydrothermal," "sedimentary" are generally satisfactory, but the process term "lateral secretion" is now vague in meaning. A more precise term is needed for the process of mobilization of elements from a solid rock and their transportation and redeposition elsewhere; for this process I propose the term "lithogene" ("stone-born"), to stress the source and process as do "magmatic" and "sedimentary." Such deposits could be derived from syngenetic, diplogenetic, or epigenetic deposits through the action of metamorphic, hydrothermal, supergene or other solutions. If one wishes, however, to emphasize the distance the mobilized elements have moved from the source rock, the resulting deposit can be described best as a locally derived lithogene deposit ("lateral secretion"), or as a regionally derived lithogene deposit ("product of regional metamorphism").The classification of many deposits such as epigenetic replacement bodies of magnetite in limestone, and syngenetic gold in recent placers is not controversial; however, where large parts of the mineral deposit are made up both of syngenetic elements and introduced elements, the term "diplogenetic" is appropriate. Examples include mineral deposits in which syngenetic cations are united with epigenetic anions, as in fluorite replacements in limestones, or where the reverse relationship holds and epigenetic cations are united to syngenetic sulfur or other anions--as may be true of certain black cupriferous shales of the Mansfeld type. Guides for distinguishing the various types of mineral deposits are discussed at length and include: mineralogy; texture; isotopic composition of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, sulfur, and perhaps other elements; form; age relations; alteration; zoning; position and quantitative adequacy of supposed source rocks; lithology; structural geology; paleogeography; and regional geologic relations. The criteria developed are used in a critical review of several examples of controversial deposits--including the African Copperbelt deposits and those of the graphitic schists of Fenno-Scandia.