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This assignment is meant to illustrate how the advection of heat by groundwater leads to the elevated temperatures at shallow sedimentary basin margins at which Mississippi Valley-type Zn-Pb hydrothermal ore deposits are formed. The assignment is based on analytical solutions for groundwater flow and heat transport published by Domenico & Palciauskas (1973). Students use a spreadsheet to calculate and plot the flow field and temperature in a sedimentary basin, and to investigate the conditions needed to produce ore-forming temperatures. These results have further implications for the length of time available for ore formation and the concentration of metals and pH of the groundwater, which are also explored in the assignment. The assignment provides an example of how groundwater plays a fundamental role in an important geologic process in the Earth's crust. The activity also shows the linkages of hydrology to other disciplines such as heat transport, geochemistry, and economic geology.
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