Abstract

Some large metabasaltic pillows in the uppermost part of the Palaeoarchaean Hooggenoeg Complex in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, exhibit flow-banded margins and homogeneous cores that have a different texture and compositional variation. The margins consist of millimetre to several centimetre thick alternating bands of pale green spherulitic and darker, conspicuously variolitic varieties of non-vesicular and aphyric metabasalt, previously inferred to be due to mingling of two different types of lava. The dark cores have sharp, aphanitic contacts with the flow-banded carapaces. They lack flow banding, have coarse-grained interiors and exhibit well-preserved primary textures with pseudomorphs after prismatic pyroxene set in a groundmass containing skeletal plagioclase. The compositional range of samples from these cores is unlike that of the flow-banded metabasalt but is similar to a 19 m thick lobate metabasalt flow ~150 m stratigraphically further up, at the local top of the Hooggenoeg volcanic sequence. The pillow cores are inferred to result from the later refilling of drained hollow pillows.

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