Internal stratigraphic architecture of the komatiitic dunite-hosted MKD5 disseminated nickel sulfide deposit, Mount Keith Domain, Agnew-Wiluna Greenstone Belt, Western Australia

N.M. Rosengren, B.A. Grguric, S.W. Beresford, Marco Fiorentini, R.A.F. Cas

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    30 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The MKD5 nickel deposit is hosted by the Mount Keith Ultramafic Complex (MKUC), a dunite body of komatiitic affinity located in the Agnew-Wiluna Greenstone Belt, Western Australia. The internal architecture of the MKUC comprises seven distinct internal units that range from extreme adcumulate dunite to relatively fractionated pyroxenitic and gabbroic horizons. The MKUC is divided into three packages of units. The main adcumulate domain ( MAD), which is situated in the lower portion of the complex, contains the bulk of disseminated nickel sulfide and is dominated by coarse adcumulate olivine textures. Overlying the MAD is an upper fractionated zone, which is dominated by mesocumulate-to-orthocumulate peridotite with domains containing oikocrystic pyroxenite and gabbroic lenses. An aerially restricted unit comprising texturally and chemically distinct olivine cumulate rocks is known as the western mineralized zone (WMZ). The fractionation trend between the MAD and UPZ indicates a westerly facing for the MKUC, conformable with the bounding stratigraphy. In the MKUC, truncation of some of the uppermost internal stratigraphic units by the hangingwall contact indicates that the unit has undergone structural modification since its emplacement and suggests that a proportion of the upper section has been removed by faulting. Furthermore, vertical and lateral textural transitions within the internal stratigraphy suggest that the MKUC (excluding the WMZ) was emplaced from an essentially continuous magma flow, with the MAD representing the period of highest magma flux and the major constructional period of emplacement. Conversely, the WMZ is interpreted to represent a later pulse of ultramafic magma, emplaced stratigraphically above the main MKUC. Comparison of the MKUC with other komatiitic dunites from both within the Agnew-Wiluna Greenstone Belt and worldwide indicates that despite apparent geometrical differences between lens and sheet komatiitic dunites, a broad facies architecture can be defined. We suggest that the differences in geometry are related to differing degrees of flow localization within dunitic units and are a function of both differences in the thermal characteristics and the degree of litho-facies heterogeneity of the enclosing lithologies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)821-845
    JournalMineralium Deposita
    Volume42
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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