Compositional Cyclicity in a Pyroxenitic Layer from the Main Zone of the Western Bushveld Complex: Evidence for Repeated Magma Influx

Andrew A. Mitchell
Department of Geology, University of Durban-Westville, Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa

Abstract: Lacking the pronounced modal layering of the underlying Critical Zone, the Main Zone of the Bushveld Complex nevertheless displays well-developed cryptic layering, expressed in a series of iron-enrichment trends, each defining a unit of the order of 100 to 200 m thick. At the base of one such unit, 1100 m above the Main Zone — Critical Zone contact, a 10 m thick pyroxenitic layer was intersected in an exploration borehole from the southern sector of the western Bushveld.

Within the pyroxenitic layer, mineral chemistry defines a series of five cycles of upward Mg and Cr enrichment in pyroxenes, and Ca enrichment in plagioclase. The mineral chemistry, supported by textural evidence, suggests the influx of successive surges of magma. Sustained streaming of magma gave rise to adcumulate textures in the central portion of each cycle, with orthocumulate textures at bases and tops of cycles representing waxing and waning stages of magma surges.

Keywords: Bushveld Complex • Main Zone • pyroxenite • magma influx • compositional cyclicity

Mineralogical Magazine; February 1996 v. 60; no. 398; p. 149-161; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1996.060.398.10
© 1996, The Mineralogical Society
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