The petrogenesis of the ignimbrites and quartz porphyritic granites exposed along the coast at Saldahna, South Africa

Joseph, Cedric S. A. (2013-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: To date, the only volcanic rocks described from the Cape Granite Suite are ignimbrites that crop out along the western margin of Langebaan lagoon, to the south of Saldahna. These ignimbrites, with an age of 515 ± 3 Ma, represent the youngest rocks within the Suite. This study aims to investigate the petrogenesis of fine grained granitic rocks exposed to the north of Langebaan lagoon, as well as to reassess the classification of these rocks as a sub-volcanic quartz porphyritic intrusive. These rocks exhibit a dark grey to brown micro- to crypto-crystalline matrix containing prominent feldspar and quartz phenocrysts that are often embayed and broken. Phenocrysts of biotite and orthopyroxene (Fs50-70) can be identified microscopically, as can replacement of both phases by chlorite. Ilmenite commonly occurs in close association with the orthopyroxene phenocrysts. A second generation of poikiloblastic biotite overgrows the matrix and is clearly formed through sub-solidus reaction. The feldspar phenocrysts are commonly microcline microperthite. Contact exposures can be observed in the study area which indicates that the finer grained rock intruded older coarser grained granites. The predominance of broken phenocrysts as well as the presence of fiamme present in outcrop in rocks with a microcrystalline matrix is indicative of a volcanic origin, suggesting that these rocks be classified as ignimbrite as opposed to quartz porphyry. The foregoing observations and features could be interpreted to represent a welded ignimbrite deposit which is underlain by coarse grained granite. The finer grained ignimbrite would then represent a subsequent intrusion by a later pulse of similar magma along the contact with the coarser grained granite. The ignimbrites are silicic with SiO2 ranging between 69 and 76 wt. %; they are mildly peraluminous with values for ASI (ASI = mol. Al2O3/ (CaO+Na2O+K2O)) ranging from 1.02 to 1.09; and ASI is negatively correlated with Mg + Fe (hereafter maficity). Tight to very tight inter-element correlations exist for several major elements as well as trace elements when plotted against maficity. The following R² values apply: Al =0.94; Ca = 0.98; Si = 0.97; Ti = 1.00; Na =0.90; Zr =0.95; La = 0.87. These elements are all positively correlated with maficity, except for Si which is negatively correlated. Orthopyroxene and ilmenite represent early formed, high temperature minerals in the magma. In the biotite-poor rocks, ilmenite represents the main reservoir of titanium whilst orthopyroxene represents the main MgO and FeO reservoir. The exceptionally tight Ti: maficity correlation requires that both these minerals always be present at the same molecular ratio in the magma, despite the significant range in maficity portrayed by the rocks and despite the fact that these minerals have different size-density relationships. This exceptionally tight correlation can be readily interpreted to reflect entrainment of a peritectic assemblage consisting of ilmenite and orthopyroxene. The Al, Ca and Na correlations require the entrainment of peritectic plagioclase. The decreasing trend for ASI requires the entrainment of peritectic clionopyroxene. A near perfect match with the concentrations of these elements in the ignimbrites is produced by modelling entrainment of a peritectic assemblage consisting of plagioclase, ilmenite, orthopyroxene and clionopyroxene in stoichiometric proportions dictated by the melting reaction. A peritectic assemblage formed by these phases’ points to the partial melting of a source undergoing coupled biotite and hornblende fluid-absent melting, with hornblende being subordinate. The opx- and ilmenite-rich micro-domains in the rocks represent zones in the magma rich in original peritectic orthopyroxene and ilmenite. In contrast, the peritectic plagioclase demanded by the chemistry of the rocks has melted during ascent due to overheating and decreasing water solubility in the melt. The phenocrystic potassium feldspar observed in the rocks crystallised after significant cooling and the physical behaviour of these crystals does not shape the chemistry of the magma. K contents of the ignimbrites are however not well replicated by this modelling, which predicts a significant K decrease due to dilution. K in the rocks is not correlated with maficity. This may reflect the fact that the K behaviour represents two slightly different source protoliths with differing K contents.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Tot op hede is die enigste vulkaniese rots van die Kaapse Granietgroep wat al beskryf is ignimbriete wat teen die westelike grens van die Langebaan-lagune, na die suide van Saldanha, aan die oppervlak kom. Hierdie ignimbriete, met ’n ouderdom van 515 ± 3 Ma, verteenwoordig die jongste gesteentes in die Groep. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die petrogenese van fynkorrelrige granietrots wat na die noorde van die Langebaan-lagune blootgestel is, te ondersoek, en ook die klassifikasie van hierdie rotse as ’n subvulkaniese kwartsporfier- intrusiewe gesteentes te assesseer. Hierdie gesteentes toon ’n donker grys tot bruin mikro- tot kriptokristalvormige matriks wat prominente veldspaat en kwartsfenokriste bevat wat dikwels bogtig en gebreek is. Fenokriste van biotiet en ortopirokseen (Fs50-70) asook vervanging van albei fases deur chloriet kan mikroskopies geïdentifiseer word. Ilmeniet kom dikwels naby ortopirokseenfenokriste voor. ’n Tweede generasie poikiloblastiese biotiet groei die matriks toe en is duidelik deur subsolidusreaksie gevorm. Die veldspaatfenokriste is gewoonlik mikroklien-mikropertiet. Kontakblootstelling kan in die studiegebied waargeneem word, wat aantoon dat die fynkorrelrige rots ander grofkorrelrige granietgesteentes intrudeer het. Die oorheersing van gebroke fenokriste asook die teenwoordigheid van ‘fiamme’ strukture in die rotsdagsoom met ’n mikrokristalvormige matriks dui op vulkaniese oorsprong, wat aan die hand doen dat hierdie gesteentes as ignimbriete eerder as kwartsporfier geklassifiseer kan word. Hierdie waarnemings en eienskappe kan geïnterpreteer word as verteenwoordigend van ’n gelaste ignimbriet-afsetting wat deur grofkorrelrige graniet onderlê word. Die fynkorrelrige ignimbriet stel dan ’n daaropvolgende intrusie voor deur ’n latere puls van soortgelyke magma teen die kontak met die grofkorrelrige graniet af. Die ignimbriete is silisies met SiO2 wat wissel tussen 69 en 76 wt. %; hulle is matig peralumineus met waardes vir ASI (ASI = mol. Al2O3/ (CaO+Na2O+K2O)) wat wissel van 1.02 tot 1.09; en ASI is negatief gekorreleer met Mg + Fe (hierná mafiese komponent). Nou tot baie nou inter-elementkorrelasies bestaan vir verskeie groot elemente asook spoorelemente wanneer dit teen die mafiese komponent gestip word. Die volgende R²-waardes is van toepassing: Al =0.94; Ca = 0.98; Si = 0.97; Ti = 1.00; Na =0.90; Zr =0.95; La = 0.87. Hierdie elemente is almal positief met die mafiese komponent gekorreleer, buiten Si, wat negatief gekorreleer is. Ortopirokseen en ilmeniet verteenwoordig vroeg gevormde, hoëtemperatuur-minerale in die magma. In die biotiet-arme rotse stel ilmeniet die hoofreservoir van titaan voor, terwyl ortopirokseen die vernaamste MgO- en FeO-reservoir voorstel. Die buitengewoon nou Ti: mafiese-korrelasie vereis dat albei hierdie minerale altyd in dieselfde molekulêre verhouding in die magma teenwoordig moet wees, ondanks die beduidende omvang van die mafiese komponent wat deur die gesteentes getoon word en ondanks die feit dat hierdie minerale verskillende grootte–digtheidsverhoudings het. Hierdie buitengewoon nou korrelasie kan geredelik geïnterpreteer word om meesleping van ’n peritektiese groep te weerspieël wat uit ilmeniet en ortopirokseen bestaan. Die Al-, Ca- en Na-korrelasies vereis die meesleping van peritektiese plagioklaas. Die verminderende neiging tot ASI vereis die meesleping van peritektiese klionopirokseen. ’n Byna perfekte passing met die konsentrasies van hierdie elemente in die ignimbriete word voortgebring deur die modellering van meesleping van ’n peritektiese groep bestaande uit plagioklaas, ilmeniet, ortopirokseen en klionopirokseen in stoïgiometriese verhoudings wat deur die smeltreaksie bepaal word. ’n Peritektiese groep wat deur hierdie fases gevorm word, dui op die gedeeltelike smelting van ’n bron wat gekoppelde biotiet- en horingblende- vloeistofafwesige smelting ondergaan, met horingblende wat ondergeskik is. Die ortopirokseen- en ilmeniet-ryke mikrodomeins in die gesteentes verteenwoordig sones in die magma wat ryk is aan oorspronklike peritektiese ortopirokseen en ilmeniet. Hierteenoor het die peritektiese plagioklaas wat deur die chemie van die gesteentes vereis word tydens styging gesmelt weens oorverhitting en dalende wateroplosbaarheid in die smeltsel. Die fenokristiese kaliumveldspaat wat in die rotse waargeneem is wat ná aanmerklike afkoeling gekristalliseer het en die fisiese gedrag van hierdie kristalle vorm nie die chemie van die magma nie. Die K-inhoud van die ignimbriete word egter nie goed deur hierdie modellering gerepliseer nie, wat ’n aanmerklike K-afname weens verdunning voorspel. K in die rotse is nie met mafiese komponente gekorreleer nie. Dit kan die feit weerspieël dat die K-gedrag twee effens verskillende bronprotoliete met verskillende K-inhoud voorstel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85687
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