Tourmaline nodules: indicators of hydrothermal alteration and SnZn(W) mineralization in the Cape Granite Suite, South Africa
Tourmaline and quartz-tourmaline nodular aggregates are common in S-type granitoids of the Cape Granite Suite in the Tygerberg terrane of the Neoproterozoic Saldania belt, South Africa. Most of the aggregates occur within the 200 km long Yzerfontein-Helderberg linear zone, which hosts a diversity of exo- and endomagmatic base and precious metal deposits. The conspicuous dark spherical nodules, with diameters of up to 40 cm, are surrounded by a leucocratic halo and consist mainly of tourmaline (schorl) and quartz. Spatial and temporal relationships indicate that the nodules are features of post-magmatic replacement related to the hydrothermal alteration of crystallized granite. Their distribution is possibly controlled by fluid movement along micro-fractures and diffusion along grain boundaries. Nodule composition suggests that the hydrothermal fluids that formed them were oxidizing and chemically simple, mainly B-(F)-rich and consequently acidic with anomalously high concentrations of Zn, Sn and Ga. Where proximal to Sn-Zn-(W) quartz-vein deposits, spatial relations show that nodule formation is more widespread than and preceded the vein mineralization. This relationship, coupled with the similar metal association of the nodules and veins, suggests a common hydrothermal fluid source. It also allows the use of tourmaline nodules as regional indicators of hydrothermal alteration and of late-stage vein deposits of similar metal association. © 1995.