Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Assessing the potential involvement of an early magma staging chamber in the generation of the Platreef Ni–Cu–PGE deposit in the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex: a pilot study of the Lower Zone Complex at Zwartfontein

McDonald, Iain, Holwell, David A. and Wesley, B 2009. Assessing the potential involvement of an early magma staging chamber in the generation of the Platreef Ni–Cu–PGE deposit in the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex: a pilot study of the Lower Zone Complex at Zwartfontein. Applied Earth Science (Transactions Institute of Mining & Metallurgy B) 118 (1) , pp. 5-20. 10.1179/174327509X434902

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

The Platreef of the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex is one of the world's most significant deposits of platinum-group elements (PGE) with associated Ni and Cu. The origin of the Platreef is controversial. Some workers suggest that it is a northern facies of the Merensky Reef or part of the Upper Critical Zone, while others have suggested that the Platreef formed by processes entirely contained within the northern limb, unrelated to mineralisation events elsewhere in the complex. The northern limb is separated from the rest of the complex by the Thabazimbi–Murchison Lineament (TML) and the effect that this structure had on the intrusion of Bushveld magmas is debated. The presence of chilled rocks and cross-cutting relationships between the Platreef and its hangingwall gabbronorites would seem to preclude the magma that formed the hangingwall also acting as a source of PGE to the Platreef. The base metal sulphides in the Platreef carry very high PGE tenors (comparable with the Merensky Reef) indicating that the PGE must have been concentrated from a large volume of magma, but the source of that magma has not been established. In order to solve this PGE mass balance paradox, McDonald and Holwell have suggested that the magmas that formed the (pre-Platreef) Lower Zone may have been the source of PGE. At present, other models do not involve any significant role for the Lower Zone magmas in forming the Platreef. The data presented in this pilot study of the Lower Zone intrusion at Zwartfontein test some of the predictions arising from the McDonald and Holwell model. They highlight some important first order differences between Lower Zone intrusions in the northern limb compared with the rest of the Bushveld Complex. The enrichment in Th and LREE that characterizes the Lower Zone rocks in the eastern and western Bushveld appears to be missing in the northern limb. The lithophile element signatures of the different types of Lower Zone are suggested to result from mafic magmas intruding north and south of the TML and being contaminated by these different types of crust. Most significantly, the study has also revealed strong depletion of chalcophile elements (Ni, Cu and PGE) in the Lower Zone intrusion at Zwartfontein. The results are consistent with the depleted products expected from the processing of pre-Platreef magma(s) by interactions with sulphides at a deeper level within the magmatic plumbing system. The results provide a positive first test of one of the predictions arising from the McDonald and Holwell Platreef model. The existence of a system capable of removing PGE and producing a large volume of depleted ultramafic cumulates, in close proximity to the most highly mineralised sector of the Platreef, is suggested to be highly significant.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sulphides; Bushveld complex; Lower zone; Staging chamber; Zwartfontein; PGE; Platreef
Publisher: Maney Publishing
ISSN: 0371-7453
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:08
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/9659

Citation Data

Cited 13 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item