Base metal sulphide geochemistry of southern African mantle eclogites (Roberts Victor): Implications for cratonic mafic magmatism and metallogenesis
Hughes, HSR and Compton-Jones, C and McDonald, I and Kiseeva, ES and Kamenetsky, VS and Rollinson, G and Coggon, JA and Kinnaird, JA and Bybee, GM, Base metal sulphide geochemistry of southern African mantle eclogites (Roberts Victor): Implications for cratonic mafic magmatism and metallogenesis, Lithos, 382-383 Article 105918. ISSN 0024-4937 (2021) [Refereed Article]
Platinum-group elements (PGE) display a chalcophile behaviour and are largely hosted by base metal sulphide (BMS) minerals in the mantle. During partial melting of the mantle, BMS release their metal budget into the magma generated. The fertility of magma sources is a key component of the mineralisation potential of large igneous provinces (LIP) and the origin of orthomagmatic sulphide deposits hosted in cratonic mafic magmatic systems. Fertility of mantle-derived magma is therefore predicated on our understanding of the abundance of metals, such as the PGE, in the asthenospheric and lithospheric mantle. Estimations of the abundance of chalcophile elements in the upper mantle are based on observations from mantle xenoliths and BMS inclusions in diamonds. Whilst previous assessments exist for the BMS composition and chalcophile element budget of peridotitic mantle, relatively few analyses have been published for eclogitic mantle. Here, we present sulphide petrography and an extensive in situ dataset of BMS trace element compositions from Roberts Victor eclogite xenoliths (Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa). The BMS are dominated by pyrite-chalcopyrite-pentlandite (± pyrrhotite) assemblages with S/Se ratios ranging 1200 to 36,840 (with 87% of analyses having S/Se <10,000. Total PGE abundance in BMS range from 0.17 to 223 ppm. We recognise four end-member compositions (types i to iv), distinguished by total PGE abundance and Pt/Pd and Au/Pd ratios. The majority of BMS have low PGE abundances (< 10 ppm) but Type iv BMS have the highest concentration of PGE recorded in eclogites so far (> 100 ppm) and are characteristically enriched in Os, Ir, Ru and Rh. Nano- and micron-scale Pd-Pt antimonide, telluride and arsenide platinum-group minerals (PGM) are observed spatially associated with BMS. We suggest that the predominance of pyrite in the xenoliths reflects the process of eclogitisation and that the trace element composition of the eclogite BMS was inherited from oceanic crustal protoliths of the eclogites, introduced into the SCLM via ancient subduction during formation of the Colesberg Magnetic Lineament c. 2.9 Ga and the cratonisation of the Kaapvaal Craton. Crucially, we demonstrate that the PGE budget of eclogitic SCLM may be substantially higher than previously reported, akin to peridotitic compositions, with significant implications for the PGE fertility of cratonic mafic magmatism and metallogenesis. We quantitatively assess these implications by modelling the chalcophile geochemistry of an eclogitic melt component in parental magmas of the mafic Rustenburg Layered Suite of the Bushveld Complex.
eclogite, base metal sulphide, PGE, Kaapvaal, Roberts Victor, metallogenesis, metasomatism, noble metals