Structural controls of auriferous quartz veins in the Karibib Area, southern central zone of the Pan-African Damara Belt, Namibia

Kitt, Shawn (2008-12)

Thesis (MSc (Earth Sciences))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


Detailed geological mapping and a structural analysis of auriferous quartz veins were undertaken in the Karibib region of the Pan-African Damara belt in central Namibia. The study focuses on the formation and controls of quartz-vein sets and associated lodegold mineralization in heterogeneous, siliciclastic- and marble- dominated amphibolitefacies host rocks around the Navachab gold mine and adjacent areas. Two main arrays of shallowly-dipping quartz veins can be distinguished that form a conjugate set. Steep, bedding-parallel and high-angle cross-cutting veins also occur, but play a subordinate role for mineralization. The orientation of the main conjugate set and progressive deformation of these quartz veins indicate that veining occurred during the late stages of the main phase of NW-SE directed, subhorizontal shortening (D2) and associated NW-verging folding and top-to-the-NW thrusting. Cross-cutting relationships with plutonic rocks indicate a timing of ca. 540 Ma for the mineralization. The quartz veins sets show a consistent orientation irrespective of their location with respect to NE-trending, NW-verging first-order fold structures that were previously considered to be pertinent for the mineralization. The quartz vein sets also cross-cut different lithologies at high angles. This suggests that the regional strain (D2) was the first-order control of quartz vein formation. More localized lithological and/or structural controls played, however, an important factor for the formation of economicgrade mineralization. Thick and closely spaced quartz veins in steeply dipping rocks of the Navachab open pit form a more than 150m thick economic-grade vein swarm. In this structural situation and during layer-normal subhorizontal shortening, the host rocks experienced high extensional strains in a vertical direction, favouring the formation of subhorizontal extension fractures.

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