Petrology and petrogenesis of the Motzfeldt Ta-mineralisation, Gardar Province, South Greenland
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The Motzfeldt centre is one of four major alkaline centres belonging to the Igaliko complex of South Greenland. The melts parental to the Motzfeldt centre are interpreted from Hf isotopes to be derived form a common mantle source which experienced subsequent isotopic contamination from older crustal components during the interval between segregation and emplacement. Magmatism within the centre commenced with the emplacement of the Motzfeldt Sø Formation at 1273 ± 8 Ma. This unit is unique within the Motzfeldt intrusion as it is characterised by a high degree of textural and mineralogical variability and hosts localised Nb, Ta, U, Th, Zr and REE mineralisation associated with pyrochlore and late-stage REE bearing carbonate phases. Biotite halogen contents show that in addition to enrichment of incompatible elements the MSF and Motzfeldt centre in general is particularly rich in F. The elevated F content is inferred to have extended the crystallisation interval of the melt and facilitated fractionation down to relatively low temperatures. The unusual enrichment of F and incompatible elements in the MSF is suggested to represent the first and most evolved melts extracted from the top of a stratified storage chamber at depth. The MSF is also characterised by pervasive subsolidus alteration, giving the rock and region a striking brick red colour. Pb-Pb pyrochlore studies indicate that alteration in the formation was effectively synchronous (1267 ± 6 Ma), with the magmatic age of emplacement. Fluid inclusion studies suggest that contemporaneous to the exsolution of juvenile, high salinity, F-rich fluids was the wholesale influx of hydrothermally convected low salinity groundwaters through the formation. The presence of pervasive late-stage hematite and calcite throughout the MSF suggests that the oxidation potential of the bulk fluid increased above the hematite-magnetite buffer during the waning stages of the hydrothermal phase. Mineralisation was promoted by this shift in fluid composition, reducing the complexing potential of fluid ligands and facilitating mineralisation within the high-levels units of the intrusion where alteration is most intense. Economic mineralisation associated with the centre is inferred to be largely sourced from the parental melts, however the role the hydrothermal phase played was particularly important in locally mobilising and concentrating incompatible elements within the high-level units of the formation.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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