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Were intercalated komatiites and dacites at the Black Swan nickel sulphide mine, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, emplaced as extrusive lavas or intrusive bodies? The significance of breccia textures and contact relationships

Cas, R.A.F.; Marks, K.; Perazzo, S.; Beresford, S.W.; Trofimovs, J.; Rosengren, N.. 2013 Were intercalated komatiites and dacites at the Black Swan nickel sulphide mine, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, emplaced as extrusive lavas or intrusive bodies? The significance of breccia textures and contact relationships. Precambrian Research, 229. 133-149. 10.1016/j.precamres.2011.10.001

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Abstract/Summary

Intercalated Archean komatiites and dacites sit above a thick footwall dacite unit in the host rock succession at the Black Swan Nickel Mine, north of Kalgoorlie in the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Both lithofacies occur in units that vary in scale from laterally extensive at the scale of the mine lease to localized, thin, irregular bodies, from > 100 m thick to only centimetres thick. Some dacites are only slightly altered and deformed, and are interpreted to post-date major deformation and alteration (late porphyries). However, the majority of the dacites display evidence of deformation, especially at contacts, and metamorphism, varying from silicification and chlorite alteration at contacts to pervasive low grade regional metamorphic alteration represented by common assemblages of chlorite, sericite and albite. Texturally, the dacites vary from entirely massive and coherent to partially brecciated to totally brecciated. Strangely, some dacites are coherent at the margins and brecciated internally. Breccia textures vary from cryptically defined, to blocky, closely packed, in situ jig-saw fit textures with secondary minerals in fractures between clasts, to more apparent matrix rich textures with round clast forms, giving apparent conglomerate textures. Some clast zones have multi-coloured clasts, giving the impression of varied provenance. Strangely however, all these textural variants have gradational relationships with each other, and no bedding or depositional structures are present. This indicates that all textures have an in situ origin. The komatiites are generally altered and pervasively carbonate veined. Preservation of original textures is patchy and local, but includes coarse adcumulate, mesocumulate, orthocumulate, crescumulate-harrisite and occasionally spinifex textures. Where original contacts between komatiites and dacites are preserved intact (i.e. not sheared or overprinted by alteration), the komatiites have chilled margins, whereas the dacites do not. The margins of the dacites are commonly silicified, and inclusions of dacite occur in komatiite, even at the top contacts of komatiite units, but komatiite clasts do not occur in the dacites. The komatiites therefore were emplaced as sills into the dacites, and the intercalated relationships are interpreted as intrusive. The brecciation and alteration in the dacites are interpreted as being largely due to hydraulic fracturing and alteration induced by contact metamorphic effects and hydrothermal alteration deriving from the intrusion of komatiites into the felsic pile. The absence of autobreccia and hyaloclastite textures in the dacites suggest that they were emplaced as an earlier intrusive (sill?) complex at a high level in the crust.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.precamres.2011.10.001
ISSN: 03019268
Date made live: 19 Nov 2014 11:38 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/508859

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