Abstract

The composition of magmas proposed as parental to the layered suite of the Bushveld Complex, and some models for the manner of their emplacement, are reviewed briefly. Included are some contributions published in South Africa, with which overseas readers might be less familiar. Emphasis is given to the broader features of the cumulates, and the contradictions raised by whole-rock compositional, Sr-isotopic, and trace-element data that cloud their correlation with proposed parental magmas. It is concluded that the Lower, Critical and Main Zones are the derivatives of only two primary magmatic lineages, while a third was added to residual liquids from which the layered rocks above the Pyroxenite Marker were formed. Excessive amounts of olivine and chromium in the cumulates of the Lower and Lower Critical Zones in the northern sector of the Western Limb can seemingly not be accounted for by the composition and volume of the putative magmas. This is attributed to (1) this sector being a proximal facies located close to the original feeder, and/or (2) crystal-charged magma batches, expelled from a lower magma chamber, being periodically injected into and dispersed within the liquids already in place in the Bushveld chamber. Thus, ongoing changes in the bulk composition of the liquids within the chamber would not be reflected in the rinds of earlier, chilled-facies rocks. The expulsion of significant volumes of liquid residua from the chamber during cumulate deposition is not ruled out.

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