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Open File Report 8

Report on laterite geochemistry in the CSIRO-AGE Database for the Southern Murchison Region (Yalgoo, Kirkalocka, Perenjori, Ninghan Sheets)

Grunsky, E.C., Innes, J., Smith, R.E. and Perdrix, J.L.

A multi-element geochemical study, largely based upon laterite sampling, covering parts of the main greenstone belts of the Perenjori, Nyngan, Yalgoo, and Kirkalocka 1:250 000 map sheets has outlined the following geochemical features:

  1. district-scale (30 to 50 km in length) patterns in the distribution of Cu + Zn + Ni + Co + Cr; V + Sn;, and Zr + Nb; each pattern appearing to relate to dominant characteristics of varying bedrock associations;
  2. an As + Sb association in the Yalgoo-Singleton Greenstone Belt, most prominent in a central regional north-south trend (referred to as a chalcophile corridor, Smith, 1987) passing through Golden Grove and extending south to Mt Gibson;
  3. isolated anomalies on the 2 to 5 km scale showing associations of Bi + Mo + W+ Ge + Sn; and,
  4. several anomalies at the 1 km scale that require follow-up sampling in exploration in order to assess their continuity and significance.

The study also provides knowledge of the element abundance levels and variation of laterite geochemistry that complements information arising from orientation studies about mineral deposits.

Sporadic Au anomalies also occur. However, the general sample spacing of 3 km with fill-in sampling at 1 km is too wide for reliable interpretation of Au patterns in laterites. Laterite geochemistry at these low sample densities generally requires the use of intermediate zonal targets such as anomalous chalcophile envelopes which can occur about individual deposits. The sampling arose as part of a combined research programme at CSIRO and an experimental exploration programme (the AGE Joint Venture Programme) during the period 1983 to 1986.

In the region covered by the present report a total of 721 samples were analyzed for 31 elements. Summary statistics, histograms, and maps of the percentile classes, are presented for selected elements in laterites and some very iron-rich materials from partly eroded profiles which have been referred to as ferricretes. A principal components analysis was also carried out with the resulting component scores plotted up for the first five components. The results of the analysis confirm the presence of some broad regional geochemical trends that are related to bedrock lithologies and regional alteration processes.

Last updated: Tuesday, January 04, 2000 10:20 AM


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