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Siderophile and chalcophile elements in spinels, sulphides and native Ni in strongly metasomatised xenoliths from the Bultfontein kimberlite (South Africa)

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Aulbach, S, Giuliani, A, Fiorentini, ML, Baumgartner, RJ, Savard, D, Kamenetsky, VS ORCID: 0000-0002-2734-8790, Caruso, S, Danyushevsky, LV ORCID: 0000-0003-4050-6850, Powell, W and Griffin, WL 2020 , 'Siderophile and chalcophile elements in spinels, sulphides and native Ni in strongly metasomatised xenoliths from the Bultfontein kimberlite (South Africa)' , Lithos, vol. 380-38 , pp. 1-26 , doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2020.105880.

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Abstract

The metasomatised continental mantle may play a key role in the generation of some ore deposits, in particular mineral systems enriched in platinum-group elements (PGE) and Au. The cratonic lithosphere is the longest-lived potential source for these elements, but the processes that facilitate their pre-concentration in the mantle and their later remobilisation to the crust are not yet well-established. Here, we report new results on the petrography, major-element, and siderophile- and chalcophile-element composition of native Ni, base metal sulphides (BMS), and spinels in a suite of well-characterised, highly metasomatised and weakly serpentinised peridotite xenoliths from the Bultfontein kimberlite in the Kaapvaal Craton, and integrate these data with published analyses. Pentlandite in polymict breccias (failed kimberlite intrusions at mantle depth) has lower trace-element contents (e.g., median total PGE 0.72 ppm) than pentlandite in phlogopite peridotites and Mica-Amphibole-Rutile-Ilmenite-Diopside (MARID) rocks (median 1.6 ppm). Spinel is an insignificant host for all elements except Zn, and BMS and native Ni account for typically The close spatial relationship between BMS and metasomatic minerals (e.g., phlogopite, ilmenite) indicates that the lithospheric mantle beneath Bultfontein was resulphidised by metasomatism after initial melt depletion during stabilisation of the cratonic lithosphere. Newly-formed BMS are markedly PGE-poor, as total PGE contents are 26 ppm in BMS in other peridotite xenoliths from the Kaapvaal craton. This represents a strong dilution of the original PGE abundances at the mineral scale, perhaps starting from precursor PGE alloy and small volumes of residual BMS. The latter may have been the precursor to native Ni, which occurs in an unusual Ni-enriched zone in a harzburgite and displays strongly variable, but overall high PGE abundances (up to 81 ppm). In strongly metasomatised peridotites, Au is enriched relative to Pd, and was probably added along with S. A combination of net introduction of S, Au +/− PGE from the asthenosphere and intra-lithospheric redistribution, in part sourced from subducted materials, during metasomatic events may have led to sulphide precipitation at ~80–120 km beneath Bultfontein. This process locally enhanced the metallogenic fertility of this lithospheric reservoir. Further mobilisation of the metal budget stored in these S-rich domains and upwards transport into the crust may require interaction with sulphide-undersaturated melts that can dissolve sulphides along with the metals they store.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Aulbach, S and Giuliani, A and Fiorentini, ML and Baumgartner, RJ and Savard, D and Kamenetsky, VS and Caruso, S and Danyushevsky, LV and Powell, W and Griffin, WL
Keywords: platinum-group elements, highly siderophile elements, alloy, base metal sulphides, cratonic lithosphere, metasomatism
Journal or Publication Title: Lithos
Publisher: Elsevier Science Bv
ISSN: 0024-4937
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.lithos.2020.105880
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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