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Open File Report 110

Geochemical exploration in areas of transported overburden, Yilgarn Craton and environs - Murchison Field Trip

Butt, C.R.M., Robertson, I.D.M., Anand, R.R., King, J.D., Munday, T.J., Phang, C and Smith, R.E.

AMIRA Project 409, Geochemical exploration in areas of transported overburden, Yilgarn Craton and environs, has, as its principal objective, the development of geochemical exploration methods for areas having a substantial cover of surficial sediments, through investigations of the processes of geochemical dispersion from concealed mineralization. An important aspect of the project is to translate research findings into practical outcomes. Field excursions have a significant role in this process, for they permit geologists and geochemists from the research group and the supporting companies to examine key sites together. This interaction promotes a much freer exchange of ideas than is possible in the formal atmosphere of seminars. The project has several important research sites and districts across the Yilgarn Craton. It is impractical to visit all of these at once, hence there will be at least two excursions during the course of the final year of the project. This, the first excursion, examines sites in the Murchison and adjacent areas: their wide separation necessitates extensive travel. The locations are shown on Figure 1. All are characterized by the development of red-brown hardpan in the surface horizons. Pedogenic carbonates are also present at Mt. Gibson and, in places, Mt. Magnet, but are generally absent from the other sites. The first visit is to the Mt. Gibson gold mine. This has not, in fact, been studied during this project, but it was an important site for Project 240, Yilgarn Lateritic Environments, and serves as an excellent introduction to many of the important features of the regolith and to the value of regolith-landform mapping. Transported overburden is a feature of the district, so that many of the findings at Mt. Gibson are of direct relevance to the objectives of the present project. The second series of visits is to locations in the Boogardie Synform in the Mt. Magnet district, including the Quasar and Stellar gold deposits, the subjects of detailed regolith mapping and geochemical orientation. Several different regolith-landform settings will be examined, including near-complete and truncated residual profiles overlain by colluvial and palaeochannel sediments. On the third day, the excursion will visit the Harmony deposit at Baxter, near Peak Hill. This is a new development, mining having commenced in July, and provides a first opportunity for close inspection of the regolith at this location. The excursion will demonstrate the regional landform setting of the deposit and examine the regolith as exposed in the new pit and as seen in drill core and drill cuttings. Finally, there will be a brief visit to the Fender deposit, about 2 km south of the Big Bell mine, near Cue. Mining was due to commence in July but, unfortunately, this has been delayed and it is now improbable that the anticipated exposure of the upper regolith will have occurred. The site is important, because it appears to be completely blind, even though the cover is thin and, in places, directly overlies ore-grade mineralization. The visit will examine the setting of the deposit and inspect samples of the regolith in core and cuttings.

Last updated: Sunday, August 05, 2001 14:08:12


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