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The Bushveld Complex, South Africa: formation of platinum-palladium, chrome- and vanadium-rich layers via hydrodynamic sorting of a mobilized cumulate slurry in a large, relatively slowly cooling, subsiding magma chamber

Maier, Wolfgang D., Barnes, S. -J. and Groves, D. I. 2013. The Bushveld Complex, South Africa: formation of platinum-palladium, chrome- and vanadium-rich layers via hydrodynamic sorting of a mobilized cumulate slurry in a large, relatively slowly cooling, subsiding magma chamber. Mineralium Deposita 48 (1) , pp. 1-56. 10.1007/s00126-012-0436-1

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Abstract

Platinum-group element (PGE) deposits in the Bushveld Complex and other layered intrusions form when large, incompletely solidified magma chambers undergo central subsidence in response to crustal loading, resulting in slumping of semi-consolidated cumulate slurries to the centres of the intrusions and hydrodynamic unmixing of the slurries to form dense layers enriched in sulfides, oxides, olivine and pyroxene and less dense layers enriched in plagioclase. The most economic PGE, Cr and V reefs form in large, multiple-replenished intrusions because these cool relatively slowly and their central portions subside prior to termination of magmatism and complete cumulate solidification. The depth of emplacement has to be relatively shallow as, otherwise, ductile crust would not be able to flex and collapse. In smaller intrusions, cooling rates are faster, subsidence is less pronounced and, where it occurs, the cumulate may be largely solidified, resulting in insignificant mush mobility and mineral sorting. Layering is thus less pronounced and less regular and continuous and the grades of the reefs are lower, but the reefs can be relatively thicker. An additional factor controlling the PGE, Cr and V prospectivity of intrusions is their location within cratons. Intra-cratonic environments offer more stable emplacement conditions that are more amenable to the formation of large, layered igneous bodies. Furthermore, intrusions sited within cratons are more readily preserved because cratons are underlain by thick, buoyant keels of harzburgite that prevent plate tectonic recycling and destruction of crust.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0026-4598
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:07
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/56705

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