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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Academic Staff

Publication details for Prof. Dave Selby

Chinnasamy, S.S., Uken, R., Reinhardt, J., Selby, D. & Johnson, S. (2015). Pressure, temperature, and timing of mineralization of the sedimentary rock-hosted orogenic gold deposit at Klipwal, southeastern Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa. Mineralium Deposita 50(6): 739-766.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Gold mineralization in the Klipwal Shear Zone (KSZ) at the Klipwal Gold Mine is confined to laminated quartz–carbonate lodes, stringers, and associated alteration in sandstone and siltstone of the Delfkom Formation in the upper Mozaan Group of the Mesoarchaean Pongola Supergroup. The moderately dipping brittle–ductile KSZ strikes N–S with an oblique–reverse, sinistral sense of shear. The deformational events that are recognized include an early compressional phase that produced anastomosing shears defined by shear fabrics with numerous shear-parallel laminated quartz–carbonate fault-fill veins and, in places, extensional quartz vein stockworks, and a late brittle reactivation phase that produced fault breccias, displacing earlier extensional veins. Three closely spaced economic reefs (lodes) are developed: the main R-reef constitutes the KSZ, while the J- and H-reefs represent footwall splays. Alteration comprises chlorite, muscovite, epidote, feldspar, and carbonates along with pyrite, arsenopyrite, and chalcopyrite ± pyrrhotite. An inner alteration zone is dominated by laminated quartz–carbonate veins with alternating quartz–carbonate-rich and muscovite–chlorite-rich laminae, whereas the proximal zone is characterized by alteration halos of K-feldspar, albite, epidote, chlorite, and muscovite along with carbonates and associated quartz veins. Chlorite thermometry from the inner and proximal zones yielded temperatures of 267 to 312 °C. Arsenopyrite compositions provide temperatures in the same range, 255 to 318 °C. Fluid inclusion microthermometry and Raman spectrometry of quartz veins in the mineralized reefs reveal the presence of metamorphogenic aqueous–gaseous fluid with an average salinity of 6.5 wt% NaCl equiv. Fluid compositions and estimated pressure–temperature (P–T) range (1.1 to 2.5 kbar at 255 to 318 °C) are typical of orogenic gold deposits. Devolatilization during the regional facies metamorphism of the Pongola Supergroup is considered the likely fluid-forming event with fluid flow focused into a “compressional jog” of the KSZ. Shear-induced pressure fluctuations generated a phase separation of the initial aqueous–gaseous fluid, producing a gaseous and low-salinity aqueous fluid. This, together with fluid–rock interaction, and a decrease in fO2 lead to sulfide and gold precipitation at Klipwal. Re-Os data from six sulfide samples constrain the age of sulfide precipitation and, by inference, gold mineralization, to 2563 ± 84 Ma, with an initial 187Os/188Os = 0.29 ± 0.08 (MSWD = 0.38). This age is distinctly younger than the post-Pongola granites (2863–2721 Ma), ruling out the association of granite emplacement with mineralization. This would suggest that mineralization is linked to the regional D3 folding event which reactivated the KSZ after emplacement of the post-Pongola granites and that final brittle, post-mineralization reactivation is related to Karoo age faulting. Low initial Os values suggest that ore fluid interacted with mafic rocks, leaching non-radiogenic Os, the likely source being the deeper seated Nsuze Group volcanics and/or the greenstone belts that underlie the Pongola Supergroup.