Preliminary Investigation of the Rare-Earth-Element-Bearing Veins, Breccias, and Carbonatites in the Laughlin Peak Area, Colfax County, New Mexico.
In 1989, the U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted a preliminary field investigation to evaluate the rare-earth and associated element resources in the Laughlin Peak Area, Colfax County, New Mexico, Bureau personnel mapped and sampled prospects and mineralized zones and conducted a site-specific geochemical survey to appraise the mineral resources and identify localities favorable for resources. Fifty- eight samples were taken, primarily from rare-earth-element-bearing veins, intrusive breccias, and carbonatites. No identified resources were estimated at the surface because of limited data due to soil and colluvial cover; however, a previously unreported small rare-earth element-bearing pluglike body of magnesiocarbonatite and a 4,000-ft-long silicified carbonatite dike were identified. The presence of rare-earth-element-bearing carbonatites in association with widely distributed rare-earth-element-bearing veins and intrusive breccias suggests that this is the upper part of a carbonatite complex. High rare-earth-element concentrations found in the magnesiocarbonatite plug and enriched rare-earth-element concentrations in the surrounding intrusive breccias suggest that resources of rare-earth elements could be present at depth and outline a target locality for exploration.