School of Earth Sciences - Theses
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ItemGeochronology and geochemistry of Cenozoic volcanism in relation to epithermal gold mineralisation in western Java, IndonesiaTitisari, Anastasia Dewi ( 2014)Western Java in Indonesia is a well known gold deposit district that contains a number of world class ore deposits. The district hosts mainly low-sulphidation epithermal gold deposits and the most important gold deposits occur in the Pongkor, Cibaliung, Cikotok, and Papandayan districts. Although Java has a long record of volcanic activity, little is known of its pre-Pleistocene arc history, particularly in relation to the timing and geochemical evolution of the volcanic successions associated with ore mineralisation. Moreover, much of the available geochronological data for volcanic rocks in the region are based on imprecise K-Ar results. Therefore a combination of 40Ar/39Ar dating techniques and elemental geochemical methods (major and trace element analyses) have been utilised in the current project. Most of volcanic samples from the current study are characterised by enriched LILE and LREE compositions, which are characteristic of calc-alkaline arcs. However, Papandayan basaltic samples exhibit depleted LREE contents, typical of island arc tholeiites. The more enriched LILE and LREE compositions present in some Pongkor samples and Papandayan intrusive rocks, are indicative of high-K calc-alkaline and shoshonite arcs. Trends in Nb/Y, Th/Nb, Ce/Yb, and Ce/La(N) ratios reflect temporal evolution of the arcs, from: i) a primitive arc (low Nb/Y, Th/Nb, Ce/Yb and high Ce/La(N) ratios) characterised by the tholeiite basaltic samples; ii) an evolved arc (high Nb/Y, Th/Nb, Ce/Yb and low Ce/La(N) values) typified by the high K – shoshonite volcanic samples; and iii) a mature arc (with intermediate Nb/Y, Th/Nb, Ce/Yb and Ce/La(N) values) represented by the calc-alkaline volcanic samples. Trace element signatures of La and Ce suggest a broadly similar magma source for all rocks in the region. 40Ar/39Ar dating of volcanic rocks that host gold mineralisation are representative of the western Java magmatic arc, give the oldest age of ca. 18 Ma for the Papandayan district; ages ranging from ~11 Ma to ~9.5 Ma for the Cibaliung district, from ~18 Ma to ~4.5 Ma for the Cikotok district, and the youngest ages from 2.74 ± 0.03 Ma to ca. 2 Ma for the Pongkor district. Adularia crystallisation that is associated with western Java gold mineralisation shows 40Ar/39Ar ages from the oldest to most recent: ca. 18 Ma for the Papandayan district; from 12.44 ± 0.19 Ma to 9.39 ± 0.75 Ma for the Cibaliung district; 5.36 ± 0.46 Ma and 3.43 ± 0.04 Ma for the Cikotok district; and from 2.02 ± 0.03 Ma to 1.80 ± 0.03 Ma for the Pongkor district. Some host volcanic rocks have been affected by hydrothermal alteration, which has resulted in partial resetting of ages towards the time of gold mineralisation. Variation of the mineralisation ages suggests multiple generation of adularia growth in the mineralised veins. The dating results suggest that the magmatic arc across western Java are most likely linked to Southeast Asia tectonic evolution, from Early Miocene counter clock wise rotation of Kalimantan to Late Miocene – Pliocene subduction of the Eurasian continental plate beneath the Indo-Australian oceanic plate. The new and existing age data allow for a reconstruction of the western Java magmatic arc, with three main events identified: an Early Miocene primitive tholeiite arc (20 – 18 Ma), a Middle Miocene mature calc-alkaline arc (13 – 9 Ma) and a Late Miocene – Pliocene evolved high-K calc-alkaline and shoshonitic arc (7 – 2 Ma). The reconstruction indicates that the Early Miocene Papandayan low sulphidation epithermal system (with some indications of high sulphidation activity) is related to a basement comprising thinned island arc crust. In contrast the Miocene – Pleistocene low-sulphidation epithermal mineralisation system of the Cibaliung, Cikotok and Pongkor districts, which is associated with a calc-alkaline arc, was constructed on Sundaland continental crust.
ItemThe geochemistry and geochronology of Tanzanian kimberlitesChesler, Rachel ( 2012)The Tanzanian Craton is host to numerous kimberlite intrusions, although few have been studied in any detail. Due to its proximity to the East African rift zone, this region also provides a unique opportunity to investigate the effect of rifting on kimberlite volcanism. To date, however, no geochemical studies have been conducted on Tanzanian kimberlites, largely due to their altered and weathered nature, and only four intrusions have published age constraints. This thesis seeks to redress these deficiencies by the application of modern high precision analytical techniques to the study of kimberlites from this previously neglected region. The study focused on 30 separate kimberlite intrusions located on the Tanzanian Craton. Due to their highly altered and weathered character, perovskite was used as a proxy to obtain geochemical and geochronological information on the host kimberlites. Perovskite is a common accessory mineral in kimberlites and contains substantial U, Sr and Nd and lesser amounts of Pb and Hf. Consequently, perovskite provides the means to determine both age constraints and initial isotopic signatures for the host kimberlites. Perovskite extracted from the Tanzanian kimberlites was utilised for U-Pb geochronology and analysed for trace element and Sr-Nd-Hf isotopic compositions. Similar to kimberlites worldwide, these samples show extreme enrichment in large ion lithophiles and LREE, whereas they are heavy REE depleted. They are characterised by moderately radiogenic 87Sr/86Sri compositions (0.70268 – 0.70476) and ɛSr values (-14.56 to 4.46), restricted 143Nd/144Ndi compositions (0.51138 to 0.51277) and ɛNd values (1.8 to 3.8), and very restricted 176Hf/177Hfi compositions (0.282058 to 0.282966) and ɛHf values (0.8 to 8.2). All samples plot within the range previously defined for Group I kimberlites. This study provides compelling evidence for the utility of perovskite analysis in highly altered kimberlitic samples that would otherwise be intractable to study. The ages obtained for these samples define two periods of kimberlite volcanism for the Tanzanian Craton. Early Mesoproterozoic kimberlites include the Itanana kimberlite (1083 Ma) and the previously dated Bubiki kimberlite (1097Ma). All other kimberlites for which ages were obtained are significantly younger, with ages ranging from 44-80 Ma. The latter group includes some of the youngest reliably dated kimberlites known; the Kikhomango (44 Ma) and X073 (47 Ma) intrusions. Ages from both the older and younger Tanzanian kimberlites coincide with periods of known kimberlite activity worldwide. Previous studies of the Tanzanian kimberlites have focused on the thermobarometry of garnet macrocrysts derived from disaggregated mantle xenoliths. Garnet compositions vary with proximity to the East African Rift, suggesting that the SCLM in this region was affected by rift related heating prior to kimberlite emplacement. If the source of these kimberlites was within the SCLM, systematic geographic variation in the isotopic and trace element compositions in relation to their proximity to the rift would be expected. This has not been observed in this study, with the entire region displaying no significant geographic variation in geochemical composition. Therefore the current results suggest a deeper source for the Tanzanian kimberlite magmas, below the influence of rifting in the region.
ItemThe timing and origin of orogenic gold mineralisation in the western Lachlan Orogen, southeast Australia: constraints from 40Ar/39Ar dating and halogen and noble gas geochemistryFairmaid, Alison Maree ( 2012)The Ballarat East gold deposit (408t) is the second largest orogenic gold deposit in the Western Lachlan Orogen, southeast Australia. The western Lachlan Orogen is characterised by a thick package of Ordovician turbiditic sedimentary rocks overlying Cambrian oceanic volcanic sequences. The region was variably affected by multiple major deformation/metamorphism and magmatism events during the Cambrian to Devonian. The Ballarat East gold deposit is located in the Bendigo structural zone of the Western Lachlan Orogen and is hosted in Ordovician sediments of the Castlemaine Supergroup. Gold mineralisation in the Ballarat East deposit is sited in quartz and quartz-carbonate veins within goldfield-scale, west-dipping reverse faults. Two major lode types are present: 1) lode type ‘1’ is characterised by arsenopyrite-dominated quartz veins associated with early movement on reverse faults, whereas 2) lode type ‘2’ is related to structurally later, shallow east-dipping, pyrite-sphalerite-galena-white-mica dominated veins, emanating from reverse faults. Previous studies have suggested that gold mineralisation in the Western Lachlan Orogen occurred at ~440Ma, as a result of metamorphic devolatilisation reactions in the lower crust. However the age of mineralisation at the Ballarat East deposit is only broadly constrained to a period between 460 and 370 Ma, and the source of the gold-bearing fluids could include metamorphosed volcanic rocks, sedimentary rocks and/or granites. In order to provide a more robust chronological framework for gold mineralisation at the Ballarat East deposit, several samples of detrital and hydrothermal potassium-rich minerals were collected and analysed by 40Ar/39Ar dating. In addition, fluid inclusions in portions of quartz and quartz-carbonate veins were characterised by micro-thermometry and halogen/noble gas isotopic tracer methods to further constrain the source(s) of the gold mineralising fluids. The 40Ar/39Ar data obtained from detrital muscovite grains yield ages between 530 – 460 Ma and are concordant with previously published detrital ages. The vein muscovite/sericite ages fall into three age groupings as follows: 445 – 435 Ma (lode type ‘1’), 420 – 415 Ma (lode type ‘2a’) and 380 – 370 Ma (lode type ‘2b’). The gold-bearing quartz veins (from both lode types) contain low salinity (average 4 wt.% NaCl eq.) aqueous H2O inclusions and mixed H2O-CO2 fluid inclusions. Fluid inclusion 40Ar/36Ar values range from 322 (close to Air Saturated Water; ~296) up to a maximum of 4503, and 40Ar/36Ar is strongly correlated with Cl/36Ar. Fluid inclusions have variable Br/Cl values between 1.66 10-3 and 2.91 × 10-3 and I/Cl values between 153 × 10-6 and 501 × 10-6, with a strong correlation between Br/Cl and I/Cl. The fluid inclusion 84Kr/36Ar and 129Xe/36Ar values are variable but show a systematic enrichment in the heavier noble gases. The 40Ar/39Ar ages suggest gold mineralisation at the Ballarat East deposit occurred in three main episodes at ca. 445 Ma, ca. 420 Ma and ca. 380 – 370 Ma. All episodes of mineralisation are associated with fluid inclusions of similar composition. This fluid is suggested to reflect a deeply sourced fluid, possibly originating by devolatilisation of altered volcanic rocks (e.g. basalts). In this scenario, the fluid would have acquired additional noble gases and organic Br plus I by interaction with sedimentary rocks, including organic-rich shales that are found beneath and surrounding the deposit. The data are compatible with genetic models for orogenic Au in which gold mineralisation was initiated by metamorphic devolatilisation in the lower crust, linked to Lachlan Orogenesis at ca. 440 Ma.