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The Ordovician sediments that host the giant Bendigo saddle reef gold deposits consist of a 3 km-thick sequence of turbiditic sandstones and interbedded siltstones and mudstones. Sedimentological studies suggest the succession formed within a major deep marine channel–levee complex similar to those described from contemporary continental margin to basin plain settings outboard of major river systems (e.g. the Amazon, Mississippi and Congo). Black shales, which are commonly the immediate host rocks to the epigenetic gold reefs, are interpreted to be over-bank deposits or abandoned channel fills, developed adjacent to active channels which were sandstone-dominated and had an incised axial...

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