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Open File Report 134

Geochemical dispersion around the Maronan Cu-Au Prospect, N.E. Queensland

I.D.M. Robertson, Li Shu and J. E. Wildman

The area around Maronan homestead is on the margin of the Eromanga Basin where the Proterozoic metamorphic rocks of the Mt Isa Inlier have been partly covered with Mesozoic, Tertiary and Quaternary sediments. This has presented a considerable challenge to geochemical exploration in the region. To date, exploration in the Eromanga and Carpentaria basins has been by investigation of geophysical targets by drilling.

There has been a complex history of erosion and deposition during the Mesozoic and Tertiary. In the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous, fluvial and deltaic sediments of the Gilbert River Formation were deposited in broad valleys which later became mesas on the Proterozoic basement at the headwaters of the Cloncurry, Bustard and Fullarton rivers to the southwest of the study area. Subsidence of the Eromanga Basin and marine transgression in the Cretaceous covered the Eloise area with mudstones and limestones 50-150 m thick concealing mineralisation in the Proterozoic basement.

The ancestral Fullarton River later deposited 5 to 8 m of Tertiary fluvial sediments on the Mesozoic. Since the early Cretaceous, incision has created erosional terraces, plains, higher river terraces and lower river terraces. The Tertiary fIuvial sediments were slightly ferruginised and mottled and brown soil was developed on them.

There were no indications of mechanical dispersion of mineralised material from the Maronan mineralisation into the alluvium, the only geochemical indications were restricted to the saprolite in the single drillhole investigated. Consequently there were no geochemical indications in the soil over the prospect.

Thick Tertiary alluvial cover at Eloise presents an effective barrier to geochemical exploration. Dispersions within the saprolite would seem to be the best geochemical target, these are likely to be limited.


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