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The Uitkomst intrusion and Nkomati Ni-Cu-Cr-PGE deposit, South Africa: trace element geochemistry, Nd isotopes and high-precision geochronology

Maier, Wolfgang, Prevec, S. A., Scoates, J. S., Wall, C. J., Barnes, S. -J. and Gomwe, T. 2018. The Uitkomst intrusion and Nkomati Ni-Cu-Cr-PGE deposit, South Africa: trace element geochemistry, Nd isotopes and high-precision geochronology. Mineralium Deposita 53 (1) , pp. 67-88. 10.1007/s00126-017-0716-x

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Abstract

The Uitkomst intrusion is a tubular mafic-ultramafic layered body that hosts one of South Africa’s largest Ni-Cu-Cr-PGE deposits, Nkomati. The sulphide ore occurs in the form of massive lenses in the immediate quartzitic footwall and as disseminations within peridotite. The chromite ore forms an up to ∼10-m-thick layer in the lower portion of the intrusion. Uitkomst has generally been interpreted as a magma conduit, possibly related to the Bushveld event. Here, we present a new high-precision U-Pb zircon date of 2057.64 ± 0.69 Ma that overlaps with the age of the Merensky Reef of the Bushveld Complex and thus demonstrates a coeval relationship between the intrusions. Based on incompatible trace elements as well as O- and Nd isotope data (εNd −4.5 to −6.2), we show that the Uitkomst parent magmas were contaminated with up to 20% Archean upper crust prior to emplacement, and with up to 15% dolomitic country rock during emplacement. Ore formation at Nkomati was critically aided by substantial devolatisation and removal of dolomitic floor rocks leading to hydrodynamic concentration of sulphide and chromite during slumping of crystal mushes into the trough-like centre of the subsiding intrusion and its footwall.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0026-4598
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 May 2017
Date of Acceptance: 23 March 2017
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2018 15:13
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/100697

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