Phase relations and Pt solubility in sulphide melt in the FE-NI-CU-S system at 1 ATM : implications for evulution of sulphide magma in the Merensky reef, Bushveld Complex, South Africa

Theron, Luhann Marlon (2013-03)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is widely accepted that sulphide is the carrier and concentrator of PGEs during magmatic mineralization episodes in the Merensky Reef (MR). PGE concentration peaks and sulphide volume percent peaks are very closely correlated. Koegelenberg, (2011), showed in an experimental investigation that sulphide movement through a cumulate silicate and cumulate oxide pile behave in such a way that sulphide melt gets trapped in chromitite layers. When looking at the compositional distribution of sulphide within the MR it is noted that not only does the sulphide volume percent varies with MR stratigraphy but also the sulphide composition. Sulphide composition is more Cu-rich in the chromitite layers and more Fe and Ni dominated in the hanging wall to the chromitite layers. Until now the more Cu-rich assemblage of the chromitite layers are accepted to be of a sulphide melt composition compared to the Fe and Ni dominated Monosulphide Solid Solution or MSS composition in the hanging wall. In this study we used an experimental approach with a sulphide starting composition thought to exist as the parental sulphide composition of the MR to investigate the phase relations with changing temperature. It is found that the sulphide composition in the chromitite layers represent a sulphide melt composition at 1000 ± 50ºC. At 1000ºC, 50% of the sulphide system would exist as a melt. This Cu-rich melt would have segregated from the MSS and be trapped in the chromitite layer. Also at 1000ºC the partitioning of the Pt would have induced a secondary enrichment step of the Pt concentration in melt through the partitioning of Pt between a sulphide melt and a sulphide solid phase. The experimental evidence in this study points towards a possible source for the parental sulphide magma to the MR, which could have been a slightly Cu enriched mantle sulphide composition. Also, the secondary enrichment of Pt through sulphide melt fractionation at 1000ºC plays an important role in the shaping of the ore body.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit word wydliks aanvaar dat die sulfied fraksie van die Merensky Rif (MR) die draer en die konsentrasie agent is vir Platinum Groep Elemente (PGE`s) gedurende mineralisasie episodes. PGE konsentrasie en sulfied volume persentasie is op `n hoogtepunt by gelyke stratigrafiese posisies in the MR. Koegelenberg, (2011), het deur middel van eksperimente bewys dat `n sulfied smelt deur `n voorafbestaande kumulaat laag kan beweeg en dat veranderende fisiese eienskappe tussen sulfied smelt en silikaat kristal en sulfied smelt en chromiet kristal, die sulfied smelt sal opsuig en verhoud om verder deur te suipel. Dit is egter oplettend dat nie net die sulfied volume persentasie varieer as `n funksie van die MR stratigrafie nie, maar ook die sulfied samestelling. Die meer Cu-ryke sulfied samestelling in die chromiet lae word aanvaar as `n sulfied smelt fraksie en die meer Fe en Ni dominerende sulfied samestelling in die oorhangende wandgesteentes verteenwoordig die Monosulfied Vaste Oplossing (MVO) soliede fase. In hierdie studie maak ons gebruik van eksperimentele petrologie tesame met `n begin samestelling verteenwoordigend van die oorsprong sulfied samestelling van die MR, om die fase verwantskappe van hierdie spesifieke samestelling te ondersoek. Dit word gevind dat die fraksionering tydens die vorming van die MR plaasgevind het by ongeveer 1000 ±50 C. By hierdie temperatuur is 50% van die sisteem teenwoordig as `n smelt fase. Hierdie Cu-verykte smelt was daartoe instaat om deur die silikaat laag te suipel, geskei te raak van die Fe en Ni dominerende MVO en vasgevang te word in die chromiet lae. Hierdie fraksionering van die sulfied smelt het ook `n sekondêre effek gehad op die verspreiding van Pt tussen sulfied smelt en sulfied soliede fases. Hierdie eksperimentele bewyse dui eerstens op die moontlikheid van `n sulfied smelt in die MR wat sy oorsprong vanuit `n effense Cu-verykte mantel bron kan hê, en tweedens op die belangrikheid van `n sekondêre proses vir Pt re-distribusie tydens die vorming van die MR.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80358
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