Petrophysical, Geostatistical and Geo-spatial Analysis of Round Top Mountain Rhyolite (Hudspeth County, west Texas, USA)

Lorraine Marie Negrón, University of Texas at El Paso


This project consists of three separate projects that all investigate Round Top Mountain, a rhyolite laccolith located in Sierra Blanca, west Texas in Hudspeth County (U.S.A). The three projects will explore and analyze the petrophysical, geostatistical and geo-spatial aspects of this unique deposit. Project 1: This petrophysical study examines the porosity and micro-permeability of the Round Top rhyolite at a scale, roughly 5 to 10 mm or pebble sized, similar to anticipated heap leach crush sizes. Large voids and fluid paths, such as faults and joints in the massive rock (meter to km scale, boulder to outcrop size), are not germane to the proposed crushing and heap leach operations and thus were not examined. To simulate anticipated heap leach conditions, we therefore designed experiments based on penetration of water and water-based ink into our rock under Earth-surface temperature and atmospheric pressure. The experiments thus simulate anticipated heap leach conditions (aqueous solutions, ambient temperature and pressure). Project 2: The purpose of this study is to create detailed mineralogical maps using multivariate statistical analysis and geospatial analysis through the use of ArcGIS™. These mineral maps can improve our understanding of the mineralization process that is unique to Round Top Mountain and inform approaches to potential extraction of that mineral wealth. This research is an extension of (Pingitore et al., 2017) where electron microprobe mapping was used to outline the microscopic distribution of heavy rare earth elements (HREEs) and better understand the mineralization and potential extraction processes. Project 3: This research is an extension of previous works on the Round Top Mountain deposit. In this paper, mineral maps are further analyzed spatially through proximity and cluster analyses using tools in the ArcGIS™ software system. We also use the Ripley’s K function to show how spatial clustering or dispersion of feature centroids change as neighborhood sizes change. The purpose of this study is to ascertain if specific minerals of potential economic value are clustered or disperse in the rhyolite. This information can aid in understanding the formation and possible extraction of the target critical elements.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Negrón, Lorraine Marie, "Petrophysical, Geostatistical and Geo-spatial Analysis of Round Top Mountain Rhyolite (Hudspeth County, west Texas, USA)" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27668136.