Lithocaps are permeable lithologic horizons that are altered to residual quartz with halos of quartz-alunite and other advanced argillic minerals; they are formed by acidic condensates of magmatic volatiles from underlying intrusions. Lithocap alteration forms near the surface at the same time as potassic alteration of underlying porphyry deposits, due to the linked vapor and hypersaline liquid, respectively. Lithocaps are barren in metals on formation, but some become mineralized with Au and Cu (the latter as high sulfidation-state sulfides).

This course will discuss the formation of lithocaps, and present their characteristics and alteration zoning, plus mineralization in some cases (caused by ascent of fluid related to the white mica-chlorite overprint of intrusions at depth). Variable relationships of lithocaps to underlying intrusions and porphyry Cu±Au deposits, and the mineralogical transition at the base of lithocaps to the tops of porphyry mineralization, will be examined, stressing features to assist exploration and assessment.

It will be held in English with simultaneous translation.


Lithocap formation, characteristics and transitions to the top of porphyry Cu-(Au) deposits.


Dr. Jeffrey Hedenquist is an independent advisor to the mineral industry and governmental groups on exploration and assessment of hydrothermal gold and copper projects. He has worked for ~125 companies in over 40 countries on more than 400 assignments, including field and classroom training. Prior to 1999 he spent 10 years each with government institutes of New Zealand and Japan, working on geothermal energy development and volcanic discharges; during this time he studied the formation of epithermal gold and porphyry copper deposits as well. Dr. Hedenquist is also an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa.


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