Two long drill cores through the Transvaal Supergroup (Neoarchean-Paleoproterozoic) record the vertical transition from a mixed siliciclastic-carbonate ramp (Schmidtsdrif Subgroup) through the Campbellrand-Malmani carbonate platform (Campbellrand Subgroup) to deeper-water banded iron formations (Asbestos Hills Subgroup). The cores were drilled in proximal (core GKF01) and distal (core GKP01) positions relative to the margin of the Campbellrand-Malmani carbonate platform. Correlation between cores is based on three types of marker horizons: sequence stratigraphic, volcanic/impact and lithologic markers. Several surfaces can be correlated to the platform succession. Gamma-ray data and bulk-rock XRF geochemistry of siliciclastic mudstones and tuff beds support the correlation.
Following flooding of a shallow-water carbonate ramp (Boomplaas Formation of Schmidtsdrif Subgroup), deposition of slope carbonates with minor siliciclastic mudstones, chert and banded iron formation (BIF) occurred below storm wave base. Cycles of in situ microbialites and reworked slope carbonates are prominent in both cores. A final transgressive pulse near the top of the succession led to deposition of thick cherts and iron formations across the former platform, slope and basinal areas.
Deposition on the slope was controlled by cementation potential in microbial facies and by sediment input, which in turn was linked to variations in platform margin geometry and changes in accommodation space. Results indicate preferred sediment accumulation in the proximal slope position, while chemical sediments were deposited preferentially beyond the reach of carbonate and siliciclastic detrital sediment. Similarly, sediment input and possibly early marine cementation influenced cycles of microbialites and reworked carbonates. Sequence stratigraphic analysis and siliciclastic mudstone geochemistry suggest a possible sea level fall and a change in provenance of the siliciclastic detritus at the transition from the Monteville Formation to the Nauga Formation (basal Campbellrand Subgroup). These changes were probably related to a major depositional hiatus on the platform.