Were intercalated komatiites and dacites at the Black Swan nickel sulphide mine, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, emplaced as extrusive lavas or intrusive bodies? The significance of breccia textures and contact relationships

Cas, R.A.F., Marks, K., Perazzo, S., Beresford, S.W., Trofimovs, J., & Rosengren, N. (2013) Were intercalated komatiites and dacites at the Black Swan nickel sulphide mine, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, emplaced as extrusive lavas or intrusive bodies? The significance of breccia textures and contact relationships. Precambrian Research, 229, pp. 133-149.

View at publisher


Intercalated Archean komatiites and dacites sit above a thick footwall dacite unit in the host rock succession at the Black Swan Nickel Mine, north of Kalgoorlie in the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Both lithofacies occur in units that vary in scale from laterally extensive at the scale of the mine lease to localized, thin, irregular bodies, from > 100 m thick to only centimetres thick. Some dacites are only slightly altered and deformed, and are interpreted to post-date major deformation and alteration (late porphyries). However, the majority of the dacites display evidence of deformation, especially at contacts, and metamorphism, varying from silicification and chlorite alteration at contacts to pervasive low grade regional metamorphic alteration represented by common assemblages of chlorite, sericite and albite. Texturally, the dacites vary from entirely massive and coherent to partially brecciated to totally brecciated. Strangely, some dacites are coherent at the margins and brecciated internally. Breccia textures vary from cryptically defined, to blocky, closely packed, in situ jig-saw fit textures with secondary minerals in fractures between clasts, to more apparent matrix rich textures with round clast forms, giving apparent conglomerate textures. Some clast zones have multi-coloured clasts, giving the impression of varied provenance. Strangely however, all these textural variants have gradational relationships with each other, and no bedding or depositional structures are present. This indicates that all textures have an in situ origin. The komatiites are generally altered and pervasively carbonate veined. Preservation of original textures is patchy and local, but includes coarse adcumulate, mesocumulate, orthocumulate, crescumulate-harrisite and occasionally spinifex textures. Where original contacts between komatiites and dacites are preserved intact (i.e. not sheared or overprinted by alteration), the komatiites have chilled margins, whereas the dacites do not. The margins of the dacites are commonly silicified, and inclusions of dacite occur in komatiite, even at the top contacts of komatiite units, but komatiite clasts do not occur in the dacites. The komatiites therefore were emplaced as sills into the dacites, and the intercalated relationships are interpreted as intrusive. The brecciation and alteration in the dacites are interpreted as being largely due to hydraulic fracturing and alteration induced by contact metamorphic effects and hydrothermal alteration deriving from the intrusion of komatiites into the felsic pile. The absence of autobreccia and hyaloclastite textures in the dacites suggest that they were emplaced as an earlier intrusive (sill?) complex at a high level in the crust.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
1 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

47 since deposited on 06 Mar 2013
19 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 57869
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Interleaved dacites and komatiites, Intrusive origin, Hydraulic fracture breccias, Alteration
DOI: 10.1016/j.precamres.2011.10.001
ISSN: 1872-7433 (online) 0301-9268 (print)
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > GEOLOGY (040300) > Volcanology (040314)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Copyright Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Precambrian Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Precambrian Research, Volume 229, May 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2011.10.001
Deposited On: 06 Mar 2013 23:40
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2014 01:02

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page