Mahd adh Dhahab is a late Precambrian epithermal gold-silver-base metal deposit located in the west-central part of the Arabian Shield. North-trending quartz veins containing base and precious metals cut an east-striking, north-dipping homoclinal sequence of volcanic, volcaniclastic, and epiclastic rocks of intermediate to felsic composition. Ore was localized where the veins cut competent, coarse-grained, fragmental units directly below incompetent and impermeable tuff units. The proximity of an epizonal rhyolite porphyry stock to these contacts also was important in localizing ore. Ore minerals include native gold and silver, gold-silver tellurides, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and minor galena, and five stages of mineralization have been identified.
Vein-related alteration consisting of quartz-sericite-pyrite, chloritic, argillic, and silicic halos was superimposed on broad zones of pervasive silicic, potassic, and argillic alteration that surrounds the rhyolite intrusive body. Quartz-sericite-pyrite alteration associated with the earliest stage of mineralization was followed by broad, pervasive, stratigraphically controlled potassic alteration. Subsequent mineralization was accompanied by quartz-sericitepyrite alteration and was followed by the main stage of mineralization that formed strong chloritic alteration halos. Development of broad zones and halos of argillic alteration also may have been related to the main stage of mineralization. Development of silicic halos was characteristic of the late stages of mineralization. Broad, pervasive propylitic alteration was then superimposed on all alteration types and represents cooling and inward encroachment of the hydrothermal system. All alteration, except the early silicic alteration is interpreted to have been related to circulating meteoric fluids heated by the rhyolite.
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