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Petrogenesis of PGE mineralised intrusions in the floor of the northern Bushveld Complex

Maier, W. D. ORCID:, Brits, A. and Grobler, D. 2022. Petrogenesis of PGE mineralised intrusions in the floor of the northern Bushveld Complex. South African Journal of Geology 125 (3-4) , pp. 265-290. 10.25131/sajg.125.0019
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The floor rocks of the northern lobe of the Bushveld Complex host several sill-like mafic-ultramafic bodies. In the present paper we evaluate whole rock data generated by exploration companies for sills on the farms Townlands, Amatava, Uitloop, Turfspruit and Rietfontein, located to the north of Mokopane, in order to constrain the origin of the sills and their mineralisation. Key observations include: (i) The sills have geochemical affinities to the Lower Zone (LZ) or Lower Critical Zone (LCZ). (ii) Most sills are enriched in sulphides and platinum-group elements (PGE) relative to most other LZ and LCZ cumulates. (iii) Most PGE mineralised intrusives have been emplaced into the carbonaceous-pelitic Duitschland Formation. (iv) The sills are spatially associated with the Mokopane gravity anomaly, possibly representing a major feeder zone to the Bushveld Complex. (v) The sills show evidence for assimilation of the sedimentary host rocks in the form of locally elevated δ34S, incompatible trace element contents and the presence of carbonaceous and pelitic country rock xenoliths. (vi) There is no correlation between PGE abundance and indicators of crustal contamination. Based on these data we propose that in the vicinity of the putative Mokopane feeder zone relatively fertile, unevolved magmas ascended through the crust initially as dykes. When intersecting the relatively fissile Duitschland Formation the mode of magma emplacement changed to one of sills. This facilitated contamination with sulphide- and graphite-rich carbonate and shale, triggering sulphide melt saturation. The sulphides were locally entrained and upgraded within the sills before precipitating, likely within flow dynamic traps.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
ISSN: 1996-8590
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 18 July 2022
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022 16:49

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