The Witwatersrand Pyrites and Metamorphism

D. K. Hallbauer and K. von Gehlen
Chamber of Mines of South Africa, Research Organization, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa
Institut für Geochemie, Petrologie und Lagerstättenkunde, University of Frankfurt, 6000 Frankfurt am Main, Federal Republic of Germany

Abstract: Evidence obtained from morphological and extensive trace element studies, and from the examination of mineral and fluid inclusions in Witwatersrand pyrites, shows three major types of pyrite: (i) detrital pyrite (rounded pyrite crystals transported into the depositional environment); (ii) synsedimentary pyrite (round and rounded aggregates of fine-grained pyrite formed within the depositional environmen); and (iii) authigenic pyrite (newly crystallized and/or recrystallized pyrite formed after deposition). The detrital grains contain mineral inclusions such as biotite, feldspar, apatite, zircon, sphene, and various ore minerals, and fluid inclusions with daughter minerals. Most of the inclusions are incompatible with an origin by sulphidization. Recrystallized authigenic pyrite occurs in large quantities but only in horizons or localities which have been subjected to higher temperatures during the intrusion or extrusion of younger volcanic rocks. Important additional findings are the often substantial amounts of pyrite and small amounts of particles of gold found in Archaean granites (Hallbauer, 1982) as possible source rocks for the Witwatersrand detritus. Large differences in Ag and Hg content between homogeneous single gold grains within a hand specimen indicate a lack of metamorphic homogenization. The influence of metamorphism on the Witwatersrand pyrites can therefore be described as only slight and generally negligible.

Mineralogical Magazine; December 1983 v. 47; no. 345; p. 473-479; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1983.047.345.08
© 1983, The Mineralogical Society
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