Strike comparison of the compositional variations of the lower group and middle group chromitite seams of the critical zone, Western Bushveld complex

Doig, Heather Leslie (2000) Strike comparison of the compositional variations of the lower group and middle group chromitite seams of the critical zone, Western Bushveld complex. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The variations in the composition, specifically the Cr20 S content and the Cr:Fe ratio, and the morphology of the Lower Group (LG) and Middle Group (MG) chromitite seams of the Critical Zone (CZ) across the western Bushveld Complex, including the Ruighoek and Brits sections, is investigated by means of whole-rock chemical data, both major and trace elements analysis, XRD and electron microprobe data. As a result ofthe paucity of exposed or developed LG1 - LG5 chromitite seams in the western Bushveld Complex, this study is confined to the investigation of the compositional variations of the LG6 to MG4 chromitite seams. In only one section, the Ruighoek section, was the entire succession of chromitite seams, from the LG1 - MG4, exposed. The silicate host rocks from the LG6 pyroxenite footwall to the collar of the CC2 drillcore (lower uCZ) in the Rustenburg section were sampled. This study reviews the compositional trends of the silicate host rocks, as the compositional variations of the chromitite seams reflect the chemical evolution of the host cumulate environment and, to a lesser degree, the composition onhe interstitial mineral phases in the chromitite seams. The compositional variations of the LG and MG chromitite seams are attributed to the compositional contrast between the replenishing magma and the resident magma. The chemical trends of the LG and MG chromitite layers and the host cumUlate rOCKS do not support the existence of two compositionalfy dissimilar magmas in the CZ, rather the cyclic layering of the CZ and the chemical variations of the chromitite seams are attributed to the mixing of primitive magma with the resident magma, both of which have essentially similar compositions. The compositional variations of the LG and MG chromitite seams along strike away from the supposed feeder site (Union section) to the distal facies (Brits section) are attributed to the advanced compositional contrast between the resident magma and the replenishing primitive magma pulses. The CZ is characterized by reversals in fractionation trends and this is attributed to the compositional evolution of the parental magma and not to the replenishment of the resident magma by influxes of grossly dissimilar magma compositions. The Cr20 S content and the Cr:Fe ratio of the MG chromitite layers increase from the Ruighoek (near proximal) section to the Brits section (distal facies). This is attributed to the advanced compositional contrasts between the resident magma and the replenishing primitive magma. In contrast, the Cr20 3 content and Cr:Fe ratios ofthe LG6 and LG8a chromitite seams decreases eastwards from the Ruighoek section. The average Cr:Fe ratio for the western Bushveld Complex is between 1.5 and\2.0, nonetheless, a progressively lower Cr:Fe ratio is noted from the LG1 chromitite up through to the MG4 chromitite seam in the Ruighoek section. tn the LG2 - LG4 chromitite interval a deviation to higher.lratios is encountered. A progressive substitution of Cr by AT and Fe in the Cr-spinel crystal lattice characterizes the chromitite succession from the LG1 seam up through the chromitite succession to MG4. The petrogeneSiS of the chromitite seams of the CZ is attributed to magma mixing and fractional crystallization of a single magma type.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Chromite, Geology, Mineralogy, South Africa
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geology
ID Code:2523
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:08 Mar 2012 13:21
Last Modified:08 Mar 2012 13:21
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