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Formation of transgressive anorthosite seams in the Bushveld Complex via tectonically induced mobilisation of plagioclase-rich crystal mushes

Maier, Wolfgang D., Karykowski, Bartosz and Yang, Shanghong 2016. Formation of transgressive anorthosite seams in the Bushveld Complex via tectonically induced mobilisation of plagioclase-rich crystal mushes. Geoscience Frontiers 7 (6) , pp. 875-889. 10.1016/j.gsf.2016.06.005

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Abstract

The formation of anorthosites in layered intrusions has remained one of petrology’s most enduring enigmas. We have studied a sequence of layered chromitite, pyroxenite, norite and anorthosite overlying the UG2 chromitite in the Upper Critical Zone of the eastern Bushveld Complex at the Smokey Hills platinum mine. Layers show very strong medium to large scale lateral continuity, but abundant small scale irregularities and transgressive relationships. Particularly notable are irregular masses and seams of anorthosite that have intrusive relationships to their host rocks. An anorthosite layer locally transgresses several 10 s of meters into its footwall, forming what is referred to as a “pothole” in the Bushveld Complex. It is proposed that the anorthosites formed from plagioclase-rich crystal mushes that originally accumulated at or near the top of the cumulate pile. The slurries were mobilised during tectonism induced by chamber subsidence, a model that bears some similarity to that generally proposed for oceanic mass flows. The anorthosite slurries locally collapsed into pull-apart structures and injected their hostrocks. The final step was down-dip drainage of Fe-rich intercumulus liquid, leaving behind anorthosite adcumulates.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1674-9871
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 July 2016
Date of Acceptance: 17 June 2016
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2019 08:49
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/92443

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