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Behaviour of Ni-PGE-Au-Cu in mafic-ultramafic volcanic suites of the 2.7 Ga Kambalda Sequence, Kalgoorlie Terrane, Yilgarn Craton

Said, Nuru, Kerrich, Robert, Maier, Wolfgang D. and McCuaig, Campbell 2011. Behaviour of Ni-PGE-Au-Cu in mafic-ultramafic volcanic suites of the 2.7 Ga Kambalda Sequence, Kalgoorlie Terrane, Yilgarn Craton. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75 (10) , pp. 2882-2910. 10.1016/j.gca.2011.02.032

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Abstract

The 2.7 Ga Kambalda Sequence comprises a mafic to ultramafic dominated volcanic rock sequence of the Kalgoorlie Terrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. The Sequence is divided into Lower and Upper Units separated by the Kambalda Komatiite Formation. Five basalt suites of the Lower Unit are tholeiitic where MgO spans 5–10 wt.% MgO, with minor assimilation-fractional crystallization (AFC), whereas six volcanic suites identified in the Upper Unit are tholeiitic to komatiitic-basalts with MgO 24–5 wt.% having generally greater degrees of AFC. Upper suites plot at Al2O3/TiO2 (17–26) close to the primitive mantle ratio of 21, and Pt + Pd (19–31 ppb), whereas the PGE-depleted Lower basalts plot at generally lower Al2O3/TiO2 (<16) and Pt + Pd (<10 ppb). Most suites have an average Pt/Pd ratio of 1.11, despite large variations in MgO contents, broadly consistent with the Pt/Pd ratio in the primitive mantle. On primitive mantle-normalised PGE plots, Upper suites generally display less fractionated patterns of the IPGE (Os, Ir, Ru and Rh) from the PPGE (Pt and Pd) relative to the Lower basalts. Most suites exhibit patterns with positive slopes reflecting relative enrichment of Pd, Pt, Au and Cu relative to Ni and IPGE. In suites of both Units, the concentrations of Ir and Ru fall with decreasing MgO contents, indicating their broadly compatible behaviour during magmatic evolution that involved AFC. Platinum and Pd behave as incompatible elements in the high-MgO suites, whereas Pt and Pd behave compatibly during crystallisation of the Lower basalt magmas, an interpretation consistent with progressively higher Cu/Pt and Cu/Pd ratios at decreasing MgO contents, and with falling Pt/Ti, collectively due to sulphur saturation induced by AFC as recorded in an antivariance of Pd/Ir with Nb/Th, a monitor of AFC. Collectively, the data suggest that several of the Lower Basalt suites crystallised under sulphide-saturated conditions, whereas most of the Upper Basalt Sequences remained sulphur undersaturated during magmatic evolution. Alteration, and fractional crystallisation of silicate and oxide phases, can be ruled out as factors governing PGE distribution in these mafic–ultramafic suites. Instead, the data suggest that discrete PGE-bearing phase (s) fractionated from the magmas. Such phases could be platinum group minerals (PGM; e.g., laurite) and/or alloys, or discrete PGE-rich nuggets or sulphides.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0016-7037
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:08
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/56711

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