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The Plat Sjambok Anorthosite and its tonalitic country rocks: Mesoproterozoic pre-tectonic intrusions in the Kaaien Terrane, Namaqua–Natal Province, southern Africa.

Journal article
Authors David H. Cornell
Linus Brander
Thomas Zack
Magnus kristoffersen
Published in International Geology Review
Volume 55
Issue 12
Pages 1471-1489
ISSN 0020-6814
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 1471-1489
Language en
Keywords Namaqua–Natal; Mesoproterozoic; anorthosite; tonalite; zircon U-Pb dating; Hf isotopes; Archaean crustal tongue; Prieska Copper Mines
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


The Plat Sjambok Anorthosite crops out near Prieska Copper Mines in the Namaqua–Natal Province of southern Africa. It is a massif-type anorthosite, previously regarded as a late-tectonic intrusion and part of the ca. 1100 Ma bimodal Keimoes Suite. Our new ion probe U–Pb zircon data show that the Plat Sjambok massif intruded at 1259 ± 5 Ma, before the 1220 Ma Namaqua collision events and is thus approximately 150 million years older than the Keimoes Suite. Despite the proximity to Prieska Mines, the anorthosite is located in the Kaaien Terrane close to the Brakbos Fault, which is the boundary with the Areachap Terrane in which Prieska Mines is situated. We dated the Nelspoortjie Tonalite, the main country rock of the Plat Sjambok Anorthosite, by laser ablation ICPMS at 1273 ± 13 Ma. Both intrusions thus originated concurrently with the 1286–1241 Ma volcanic rocks of the Areachap Group, which developed in a subduction-related arc setting, prior to its collision with the Kaaien Terrane and Kaapvaal Craton. Metamorphic zircon rims in the Plat Sjambok Anorthosite give an age of 1122 ± 7 Ma, a time that corresponds to a quiet period in the Areachap Terrane. We propose a tectonic model in which formation of the Nelspoortjie Tonalite and Plat Sjambok Anorthosite was driven by intrusions from the mantle into a back-arc related tensional environment within the Kaaien Terrane, possibly situated above an Archaean crustal tongue. This led to heating in a thickened crustal setting in which the tonalite originated as a partial melt of amphibolite. The anorthosite then formed as a mixture of mantle-derived gabbro and Archaean crustal rocks, which explains the 2100–2600 Ma zircon–Hf crustal residence ages and the Sm–Nd trend towards an old crustal source. The anorthosite and its country rocks were only juxtaposed with the Prieska Copper Mining District by late-tectonic uplift and transpressional movements on the Brakbos Fault towards the end of the Namaqua tectogenesis.

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