The geology and geochemistry of the Bridgetown Formation of the Malmesbury Group, Western Cape Province

Slabber, Nina (1995-06)

Thesis (MSc) -- Stellenbosch University , 1995.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: A number of small greenstone bodies of the Bridgetown Formation are exposed as elongated lenses and dykes within metasediments of the Malmesbury Group in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The Malmesbury Group is part of the Neoproterozoic to Cambrian (Namibian) Saldania Subprovince which is the southern continuation of a Pan-African mobile belt system. A detailed geological and geochemical study was conducted on the largest outcrop of the Bridgetown Formation, situated 20km east of the town Moorreesburg. The Bridgetown Formation consists of a meta-volcano-sedimentary sequence that experienced polyphase deformation and metamorphism up to the lower greenschist facies. Tectonically, the Bridgetown Formation is included in the Boland tectonic domain, east of the Piketberg-Wel lington fault zone that is suggested to run Skm west of Heuningberg and subparallel to the Berg River. This agrees with Rabie's (1974) original subdivision of the tectonic domains. The Bridgetown Formation consists of: i) A basal unit of poorly differentiated alkaline metabasalt with a within-plate tectonomagmatic fingerprint. ii) An intermediate unit of poorly differentiated tholeiitic metabasalt, intruded by a younger tholeiitic metabasite with a low degree of differentiation. Both members of the intermediate unit have ocean-floor basalt (P-type MORB) and island arc basalt fingerprints. iii) An upper unit of poorly differentiated as well as more evolved alkaline metabasalts, interlayered with metatuff with an alkaline basaltic composition, metasedimentary rocks with a marine origin, and graphitic schists and muscovitequartz schists, both with a continental crust provenance. iv) An overlying metasedimentary sequence including dolomite, massive and oolitic chert, jasper and jaspilite. The Bridgetown Formation probably also comprises a lower metamorphosed ultramafic unit, indicated by the association of Ni- and Cr-rich talc bodies, Ni-and errich banded chert, chlorite schist and small dolomite-talc-chlorite bodies at Spitskop, situated directly northwest of the main greenstone body. The sequence of eruptive stages and the geochemistry of the metavolcanics resemble Hawaiian volcanism , indicated by an initial deep water stage of alkaline magmatism, followed by main tholeiitic edifice and post-caldera alkaline magmatism. Post-caldera alkaline magmatism occurred contemporaneously with deposition . of sediments and chemical precipitates (carbonates and cherts). The Bridgetown metavolcanics have no magmatic association with either the Bloubergstrand volcanics or mafic and intermediate plutonic rocks in the Malmesbury Group. However, some physical and geochemical similarities exist between the Bridgetown Formation and the age related Grootderm Formation of the Marmora Terrane (Gariep Supergroup) which is considered to represent ophiolitic material. The Bridgetown Formation probably represents segments of oceanic crust, including seamounts of oceanic islands, which were tectonically emplaced in an accretionary prism zone during subduction of oceanic crust underneath the Kalahari Craton, 600 to 700 Ma ago. This resulted in the present spatial configuration of various small greenstone bodies in the Malmesbury Group. To date no exploitable mineral deposits have been found 1n the Bridgetown Formation. However, Au and As anomalies in stream sediment and soil samples, taken in the Spitskop area, require further attention. lt is suggested that the gold and arsenic is hosted in brittle deformed clear to milky quartz veins which developed at zones of competency contrasts in all the li tholog ies in the Spitskop area.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: 'n Aantal klein groenskisliggame van die Bridgetown Formasie is blootgestel as verlengde lense en gange binne metasedimente van die Malmesbury Groep in die Wes-Kaap Provinsie, Suid-Afrika. Die Malmesbury Groep is deel van die Neoproterozo·iese tot Kambriese (Namibiese) Saldania Subprovinsie wat die suidelike voortsetting is van 'n Pan-Afrikaanse mobiele gordel sisteem. 'n Gedetaileerde geologiese en geochemiese studie is gedoen op die grootste dagsoom van die Bridgetown Formasie, gelee 20km oos van die dorp Moorreesburg. Die Bridgetown Formasie bestaan uit 'n metavulkanies-sedimentere opeenvolging wat pol ifase vervorming en metamorfisme tot en met die laer groenskis fasies ondergaan het. Die Bridgetown Formasie word hier in die Boland tektoniese domein ingedeel deur die Piketberg-Wellington verskuiwingsone 5km wes van Heuningberg, subparallel a an die Bergrivier, te plaas. Dit stem ooreen met Rabie ( 197 4) se oorspronkl ike verdeling van die tektoniese domeine. Die Bridgetown Formasie bestaan uit: i) 'n Basale eenheid wat hoofsaaklik bestaan uit min gedifferens ieerde alkali-metabasalte met binneplaat tektonomagmatiese eienskappe. ii) 'n lntermediere eenheid wat bestaan uit min gedifferensieerde tholeiitiese metabasalt en 'n jonger intrusiewe tholeiitiese metabasiet wat 'n lae graad van differensias ie ondergaan het. Beide intermediere eenhede het oseaanvloer-basalt (P-t ipe MORB) en eilandboog basaltiese eienskappe. iii) 'n Boonste eenheid wat bestaan uit min gedifferensieerde asook meer gedifferensieerde alkal i-metabasalte, tussengelaagd met metatuf met 'n alka libasaltiese samestelling; metasedimentere gesteentes met 'n mariene oorsprong, en grafitiese ski ste en kwarts-muskoviet skiste, beide met 'n kontinentale kors oorsprong . iv) 'n Oorliggende metasedimentere opeenvolging wat dolomiet, massiewe en ooli tiese chert, jaspis en jaspiliet insluit. Die Bridgetown Formasie slu it moontlik ook 'n onderliggende gemetamorfiseerde ultramafiese eenheid in; aangedui deur die assosiasie van Ni- en Cr-ryke ta lkl iggame, Ni- en Cr-ryke gebande chert, chlorietskis en klein dolomiet-talk-chloriet liggame by Spitskop, gelee direk noordwes van die hoof groensteenliggaam. Die opeenvolg ing van magmatisme en die geochemie van die metavulkaniese gesteentes stem ooreen met Hawaiiese vulkanisme, naamlik 'n diepwater stadium, gekarakteriseer deur alkaliese magmatisme, gevolg deur 'n hoof tholeiitiese opbouing en post-kaldera alkaliese magmatisme. Die post-kaldera alkaliese magmatisme het gelyktydig plaasgevind met afsetting van sedimente en chemiese presipitate (karbonate en cherte ). Die Bridgetown metavulkaniese gesteentes het geen magmatiese assosiasie met 6f die Bloubergstrand vulkaniese gesteentes 6f mafiese en intermediere plutoniese gesteentes in die Malmesbury Groep nie. Fisiese en geochemiese ooreenkomste bestaan egter tussen die Bridgetown Formasie en die Grootderm Formasie van die Marmora Terrein (Gariep Supergroep) wat beskou word as ofiolitiese materiaal. Die Bridgetown Formasie verteenwoordig moontlik segmente van oseaankors, insluitende oseaan-eilande, wat tektonies in 'n melange sone ingeplaas is tydens subduksie van oseaankors onder die Kalahari Kraton in (600 tot 700 Mj gelede). Dit verklaar die huidige ruimte like verspreiding van verske ie klein groensteenliggame in die Malmesbury Groep. Tot en met hede is geen ontginbare mineraalafsettings in die Bridgetown Formasie ontdek nie. Au en As anomalie in stroomsediment- en grondmonsters, geneem in die Spitskop area, behoort egter verdere aandag te geniet. Daar is voorgestel dat die goud en arseen voorkom in brosvervormde helder tot melkerige kwartsare wat ontwikkel het in swak sones in al die litologie in die Spitskop area.

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