Abstract

The type area of the Copperton Formation is on the farms Vogelstruisbult 104, Somuspan 105 and Dooniespan 108 in Prieska District. Outcrop is poor and the type material is preserved in exploration borehole cores from the Prieska Copper Mines and the Annex Cu-Zn deposits. It is highly deformed and variably metamorphosed. Thus it is a lithodemic unit, but interpreted as a supracrustal sequence and described as a formation including lithologically distinct members. The Copperton Formation comprises a wide range of rock types including metabasic and intermediate gneisses with minor amounts of metapelitic and calc-silicate rocks. Metamorphic parageneses generally reflect amphibolite facies metamorphism, but granulite and retrograde greenschist facies zones also occur. The protoliths are interpreted as an arc-related volcano-sedimentary package and the Smouspan Member metadacite is dated at 1284 ± 9 Ma. Members are distinguished as follows: The Magazine Member is dominated by calc-silicate rocks which are dominant in outcrop but rarely found in borehole cores. The Smouspan Gneiss is a fairly homogeneous hornblende-biotite intermediate gneiss which is up to 400 meters thick in an isoclinal fold structure. It comprises the footwall to the Prieska Copper Mines Member, in which the massive sulphide orebody occurs, enclosed in an alteration assemblage comprising dark gedrite fels and strongly foliated, leucocratic quartz-perthite-sillimanite gneiss. The ore is interpreted as a volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit formed in a Mesoproterozoic island arc system. The Vogelstruisbult Member is the hanging wall unit, comprising mainly laminated amphibolites and metapelites, but also containing a variety of rock types including hornblende gneiss, biotite gneiss, chlorite schist, and calc-silicate gneiss. Away from the Prieska Mines orebody, a similar variety of rock types is found, and not subdivided but classified as Copperton Formation, a mappable unit. The same assemblage of rock types, including massive sulphide mineralization, was intersected in drill holes on the farms Kielder (portion of Doonies Pan 108), Eierdop Pan and Kantienpan to the north. The Copperton Formation is the southernmost unit of the Areachap Group which is exposed between Prieska Copper Mines and Areachap Mine north of Upington, where the Jannelsepan and Bethesda formations occur. The Copperton Formation is partly obscured in many places by Dwyka Group tillite cover which thickens southwards. A sequence of structural and metamorphic events affected the Copperton Formation and Areachap Group during the 1.2 to 1.0 Ga Namaqua-Natal orogeny. These involved collision of the Areachap Terrane with the Kaapvaal-Rehoboth Craton at about 1220 Ma, a thermal and deformational event coeval with the continental-scale Umkondo mantle event at about 1100 Ma, followed by uplift, erosion and the development of right-lateral shear zones of the Doornberg Lineament, with cooling below 300°C by 920 Ma. A Cambrian peneplain developed in the region which was first covered by Nama Group sandstones, then glaciated and covered by Permian Dwyka Group tillites which are presently being eroded to expose the Copperton Formation.

You do not currently have access to this article.