Title page for ETD etd-08122005-105049

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Albrechtsen, Bart Hunter
URN etd-08122005-105049
Document Title A geochemical and field study of the Ingeli and Horseshoe lobes, Mount Ayliff Complex, South Africa, and its potential for magmatic suphide ores
Degree MSc (Geology)
Department Geography, Geo-Informatics and Meteorology
Advisor Name Title
Prof W D Maier Committee Chair
  • sulphide minerals South Africa
  • formations geology South Africa
  • rocks ultrabasic South Africa
  • geochemical prospecting South Africa
Date 2003-04-01
Availability unrestricted
The Mount Ayliff Complex (MAC) is situated on the border between Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape provinces in the Republic of South Africa, approximately 90 km due west of Port Shepstone. The Complex forms part of the Karoo Igneous Province and includes five lobes (Ingeli, Insizwa, Tonti, Tabankulu, and Horseshoe) that are the remnants of a single continuous intrusive sheet that had an original extent of 18,000km2 The current outcrop is estimated at 800km2 The lobes all show extensive internal differentiation, from basal ultramafic cumulates to diorites and monzonites at the top, while most other intrusions in the Karoo Igneous Province cooled rapidly enough to produce relatively homogenous dolerites.

Most work conducted on the Complex thus far has centered on the Insizwa lobe due to the presence of a Ni-sulphide occurrence near the base of the lobe at Waterfall Gorge. The setting of the ores has analogies to the Noril'sk-Talnakh deposits, which has raised considerable exploration interest on the Mount Ayliff Complex over the last century.

The current study investigates the Ni-Cu sulphide potential of the Ingeli and Horseshoe lobes, which have been poorly studied in the past. To this effect, a stream sediment survey was conducted around the Ingeli lobe to try and detect potentially hidden magmatic sulphide ores. Further, the five lobes of the Complex have been compared in terms of lithology and lithogeochemistry. Analytical techniques used for the current study include: XRF, ICP-MS and electron microprobe. Stream sediment samples were analysed using XRF and ICP-OES.

Olivines from the ultramafic cumulates of the Ingeli and Insizwa lobes are undepleted in Ni, whereas olivines from the Horseshoe and Tabankulu lobes are strongly depleted in Ni. This suggests that the rocks of the latter two lobes crystallized from parental magmas that interacted with a sulphide liquid and that the magmatic flow direction was from the north to the south.

The data indicate that the ultramafic rocks of the Complex plot on or near control lines between olivine and Karoo dolerite indicating that the rocks are mixtures of cumulus olivine and trapped melt of Karoo dolerite composition. There appears to be a copper enrichment towards the top of the ultramafic package in the Ingeli lobe. This pattern corresponds to other studies conducted in the InsiZWa lobe and suggests that the two lobes had originally been connected. The lowermost cumulates of the Ingeli lobe contain an enhanced crustal component suggesting some in situ contamination.

No significant sulphide enrichments were encountered in the Basal Zone rocks of the Ingeli lobe. However, the stream sediment data indicate localized PGE enrichment indicating the possible presence of a localized hidden sulphide occurrence of the type found at Waterfall Gorge. Small amounts of sulphides were found associated with the Basal Zone rocks in the Horseshoe lobe consistent with the trends of Ni-depletion of olivines. However, a lack of Co depletion in the ultramafic rocks of this lobe suggests that any sulphide segregation event that did take place was of a relatively small scale.

2002 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Albrechtsen, BH 2002, A geochemical and field study of the Ingeli and Horseshoe lobes, Mount Ayliff Complex, South Africa, and its potential for magmatic sulphide ores, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08122005-105049/ >


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