Magmatic evolution, xenolith mineralogy, and emplacement history of the Aries micaceous kimberlite, central Kimberley Basin, Western Australia

Peter Downes

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] The Neoproterozoic (815.4 ± 4.3 Ma) Aries kimberlite intrudes the King Leopold Sandstone and the Carson Volcanics in the central Kimberley Basin, northern Western Australia. Aries is comprised of a N-NNE-trending series of three diatremes and associated hypabyssal kimberlite dykes and plugs. The diatremes are volumetrically dominated by massive, clast-supported, accidental lithic-rich kimberlite breccias that were intruded by hypabyssal macrocrystic phlogopite kimberlite dykes and plugs with variably uniform- to globular segregationary-textured groundmasses. Lower diatremefacies, accidental lithic-rich breccias probably formed through fall-back of debris into the vent with a major contribution from the collapse of the vent walls. These massive breccias are overlain by a sequence of bedded volcaniclastic breccias in the upper part of the north lobe diatreme. Abundant, poorly-vesicular to nonvesicular, juvenile kimberlite ash and lapilli, with morphologies that are indicative of phreatomagmatic fragmentation processes, occur in a reversely-graded volcaniclastic kimberlite breccia unit at the base of this sequence. This unit and overlying bedded accidental lithic-rich breccias are interpreted to be sediment gravity-flow deposits (including possible debris flows) derived from the collapse of the crater walls and/or tephra ring deposits that surrounded the crater. ... This Fe-enrichment may have resulted from Fe-Mg exchange with olivine during slow cooling of the peridotite host rocks. Textures reflecting the cooling history of some mantle xenoliths are preserved in the form of fine exsolution rods of aluminous spinel in diopside and zircon in rutile grains in aluminous spinel- and rutile-bearing serpentinised ultramafic xenoliths, respectively. These textures suggest nearly isobaric cooling of host rocks in the lithospheric mantle, and indicate that at least some aluminous spinel in spinel-facies peridotites formed through exsolution from chromian 4 diopside. Episodes of Fe-Ti-rich metasomatism in the spinel-facies Kimberley mantle are the likely source of high-Ti phlogopite-biotite + rutile and Ti, V, Zn, Ni-enriched aluminous spinel ± ilmenite associations in several ultramafic xenoliths. U-Pb SHRIMP 207Pb/206Pb zircon ages for one granite (1851 ± 10 Ma) and two serpentinised ultramafic xenoliths (1845 ± 30 Ma; 1861 ± 31 Ma) indicate that the granitic basement and lower crust beneath the central Kimberley Basin are at least Palaeoproterozoic in age. However, Hf-isotope analyses of the zircons in the ultramafic xenoliths suggest that the underlying lithospheric mantle is at least late Archaean in age.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2006


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