Title page for ETD etd-04282005-110052


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Manyeruke, Tawanda Darlington
URN etd-04282005-110052
Document Title The petrography and geochemistry of the Platreef on the farm Townlands, near Potgietersrus, northern Bushveld Complex
Degree MSc
Department Geology
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof W D Maier Committee Chair
Prof S A de Waal Committee Co-Chair
Keywords
  • geochemistry South Africa Limpopo Province
  • platinum ores South Africa Limpopo Province
  • petrology South Africa Limpopo Province
Date 2004-04-20
Availability unrestricted
Abstract

The Platreef is a platinum group element (PGE) and base metal enriched mafic/ultramafic layer situated along the base of the northern (Potgietersrus) limb of the Bushveld Complex. It represents an important resource of PGE which is only in its early stages of exploitation. The present study contains a detailed petrographic and geochemical investigation of a borehole core drilled on the farm Townlands. At this locality, the Platreef rests on metasedimentary rocks of the Silverton Formation of the Transvaal Supergroup, and is comprised of three medium grained units of gabbronorite/feldspathic pyroxenite that are separated by hornfels interlayers. I refer to the three platiniferous layers as the Lower, Middle and Upper Platreef. The Middle Platreef is the main mineralized layer, with total PGE contents up to 4 ppm. The Lower and Upper Platreefs are less well mineralized (up to 1.5 ppm).

Trace element and S-isotope data show compositional breaks between the different platiniferous layers suggesting that they represent distinct sill-like intrusions. The study also reveals a reversed differentiation trend of more primitive rocks towards the top of the succession. For example, pyroxene shows an increase in Cr2 O3 with height couples with a decrease in TiO2 . Olivine from the Upper Platreef has Fo contents between 80-83 (averaging Fo81) and those from the Middle Platreef have Fo from 78-83 (averaging Fo79 ).

The Upper and Lower Platreefs have d 34S values averaging 80/00 while the Middle Platreef has d 34S values averaging 4 0 /00. All three Platreef layers have elevated d 34S values, indicating addition of 34S-enriched crustal sulphur. The model of contamination is supported by elevated K, Ca, Zr and Y contents in the Platreef relative to Critical Zone rocks from elsewhere in the Bushveld Complex, and by high Zr/Y ratios.

Well defined correlations between concentrations of the individual PGE, and between the PGE and S suggest that the concentration of the PGE was controlled by segregating sulphide melt. Alteration of the rocks, possibly due to infiltration by fluids derived from the floor rocks, caused localized redistribution of Cu and, to a lesser degree, the PGE.

A model is proposed whereby the Platreef magma assimilated calcsilicate and hornfels from the country rocks. The hornfels and calcsilicate of the Silverton Formation that forms the floor rocks to the Platreef on the farm Townlands constitute a possible source of the crystal sulphur. Release of S from the floor rocks caused S-supersaturation in the magma, followed by segregation of an immiscible sulphide melt. The sulphide melt scavenged the PGE from the silicate magma. The sulphides and the xenoliths were entrained by successive, metal-undepleted magma flows, causing high metal tenors in the sulphides and undepleted Ni contents in associated olivine

University of Pretoria 2003

Please cite as follows:

Manyeruke, TD 2003, The petrochemistryand geochemistry of the Platreef on the farm Townlands, near Potgietersrus, northern Bushveld complex , MMus dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd- 04282005-110052/

H145/th

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