U-Pb Zircon Age Constraining the Source and Provenance of Gem-Bearing Late Cenozoic Detrital Deposits, Mamfe Basin, SW Cameroon
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Kanouo, NS and Zaw, K and Yongue, RF and Sutherland, FL and Meffre, S and Njonfang, E and Ma, C and Tchouatcha, MS, U-Pb Zircon Age Constraining the Source and Provenance of Gem-Bearing Late Cenozoic Detrital Deposits, Mamfe Basin, SW Cameroon, Resource Geology, 62, (3) pp. 316-324. ISSN 1344-1698 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2012 The Authors
Zircons and other heavy minerals (corundum, rutile, ilmenite, magnetite, sillimanite) are identified in the Nsanaragati gem corundum placer deposit, in the western part of the Mamfe sedimentary basin, SW Cameroon. These alluvial minerals have different morphological characteristics and zircons, in particular, vary mostly in colour and shape. They are reddish, brownish, yellowish, pink or colourless. These minerals form rounded and sub-rounded alluvial grains, prismatic, pyramidal or dipyramidal crystals. Reddish zircons retain their original crystallographic shape. Trace element and U-Pb isotopic geochemical analyses of these reddish zircons, using the LA-ICP-MS method give significant Hf (4576-6334ppm), Th (46-1565ppm) and U (66-687ppm) contents, with Th/U ratio ranging from 0.6 to 3.0. The 206Pb/ 238U corrected mean age gave 12.39 ± 0.55Ma, which characterizes an Upper Cenozoic (Serravallian) magmatic event. The zircons are probably sourced from a magmatic field in the South eastern boundary of the Cross River Formation. The Cameroon Volcanic Line of basaltic and alkaline lavas and intrusions which lie east of the Mamfe Basin mostly range in age from 37Ma to <1Ma. The zircons may also relate to the Mount Bambouto plateau lavas which lie northeast of the Mamfe sedimentary basin and have an eruptive age range of 21-14Ma. The oldest Nsanaragati reddish zircon ages overlap within error with the end stages of the Bambouto eruptions. This eruptive or a related episode provides a potential source for megacrystic reddish zircons within the Nsanagarati placer deposit. © 2012 The Authors. Resource Geology © 2012 The Society of Resource Geology.
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