The Darling granite batholith

Schoch, A. E.(Aylva Ernest) (1972-09)

Thesis (PhD) -- Stellenbosch Univesrsity, 1972.


The Darling batholith is characterised by large scale hybridisation, but mainly consists of the coarsely porphyritic Darling granite. This granite changes gradationally into a biotite-rich variety which occupies a roughly elliptical area with a major, northwesterly trending axis of 30 km. The biotite granite envelops a large irregular body of hybrid granodiorite. Small intrusions of younger granite occur within the batholith namely the Klipberg and Contreberg granites and possibly the biotite-rich Dassenberg granite. Dassen Island is underlain by fine-grained granite which could be related to either the younger or coarsely porphyritic granites. A prominent northwesterly trending mylonite zone can be traced through Darling to Swartberg, and ultimately to Trekoskraal in the Saldanha batholith, but is not continuous since it occasionally changes into gneissic granite and is also interrupted by the younger intrusives. Quantitative mapping included measurement of matrix grain size, average maximum phenocryst length, xenolith distribution density, quartz nodule distribution density and average size, lineation, dark mineral index and gneissosity. On Dassen Island the distribution of tourmaline nodules was , determined. The results are displayed as small scale contour maps which show strong correlation between the various parameters. The average values of matrix grain size, average phenocryst length and xenolith distribution density are respectively 2-5mm, 20-60mm and 0-1,5 per m² for the Darling granite, and 1-2 mm, 5-20 mm and 1-9 per m² for the hybrid granodiorite. It was found that the matrix grain size decreases with increase in hybridisation. The spotty distribution pattern of tourmaline nodules on Dassen Island indicates addition of boron by assimilation of metamorphites and a late stage liquid immiscibility process. The granites :.have normal mineralogy and the K-feldspar of the phenocrysts is maximum microcline (Δ = 0,9 - 1,0). The hybrid granodiorite contains much pinitised cordierite and locally garnet. The deeply pleochroic bioti te is probably of the 2M1 polytype and has a higher Fe:Mg ratio in the hybrid granodiorite than in the granite (2,8 - 3,0 vs. 2,2 - 2,3). The intimately associated chlorite seems to be of the Ia polytype. The cordierite is of the normal and low temperature type with average intensity index of 2,7 , distortion index of 0,3 and 2 a of 63°. The xenoliths are predominantly quartzitic metagraywackes, but lime-rich types holding sphene and diopside were occasionally encountered. Thirteen new chemical analyses and thirty-one previously published analyses are used to calculate average composite analyses of the various rock types. The results of calculations employing Barth standard cell values indicate that the hybrid granodiorite could have originated by reaction between granite magma and Malmesbury quartzitic metagraywacke and pe-lite with a little limestone. A "granite differentiation index" based on weight percentages of (Ti02 + MgO + FeO + Fe2O3) and (Si02 + Na2O + K2O) shows a linear relationship between the granites in probable order of age. The magmatic differentiation trend is separated from the hybridisation trend on a 6alk - 2(al - alk) - (100 - 2al) diagram. Mesonorms and their cordierite variants are used to effect comparison with the experimental granitic system of von Platen (1965). The Darling and Contreberg granites plot near the relevant cotectic surfaces. A pilot experimental study of melting behaviour indicates that the Contreberg granite is closer to a minimum melt composition than the Darling granite. Comparison of alkali values with a M Na2O - M K2O Schreinemakers diagram of Korzhinskii (1959), shows that the alkali ratio of the older analyses may be incorrect, and indicates that the dark minerals have a greater effect on plagioclase composition than the amount of K-feldspar. The classification of granites by means of Harpum diagrams is shown to have little relevance to the reconstruction of the ancient thermodynamical variants. The Darling granite is correlated with the Hoedjies Point granite of the Saldanha batholith and on geochronological evidence probably corresponds in age (500- 600 m.y.) with the Cape Peninsula granite. The younger granites of Darling are tentatively correlated with the Cape Columbine granite of the Saldanha batholith. The northeastern boundary of the Darling batholith is a major fault, the Colenso fault, which is considered to extend as far as Northwest Bay, Saldanha. It is proposed that the Darling batholith occupies a down-faulted block within a graben and that the hybrid granodiorite represents a remnant synform of the roof rocks intruded by the granite. The younger granites constitute only four percent by volume of the batholith and may represent anatectic melts from a nearby subjacent source.

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