A double Fe-Ti oxide and Fe-sulphide liquid immiscibility in the Itsindro Gabbro Complex, Madagascar - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of African Earth Sciences Year : 2017

A double Fe-Ti oxide and Fe-sulphide liquid immiscibility in the Itsindro Gabbro Complex, Madagascar


The petrology and mineralogy of the Itsindro complex in south-central Madagascar has been investigated through samples obtained from the 320.7 m-deep Lanjanina borehole. The section consists of a 254 m-thick pyroxenite unit with interbedded gabbro layers that overlies a gabbro unit and is itself overlain by a 19 m-thick granite unit. Most of the structures are sub-horizontal. A weak magmatic layering is locally observed but at the scale of the core, the intrusion does not appear to be a layered complex. Pyroxenite and gabbro show a systematic disseminated mineralization consisting of Fe-Ti-P oxides and Fe-(Cu-Ni) sulphides that takes the form of ilmenite-titanomagnetite ± apatite and pyrrhotite ± chalcopyrite ± pentlandite. In the upper zone, from 90 to 72 m, sub-massive centimetre-to decimetre-sized layers of oxides and sulphides comprise a total of 16 m of sub-massive sulphide (the main mineralized zone). In this mineralized zone the oxide/sulphide ratio is close to 1/1. The sulphide is strongly dominated by pyrrhotite, which may locally contain inclusions of molybdenite crystals with the Re sulphide rheniite (ReS2). Oxides are generally euhedral, included in or attached to the Fe-sulphide, and also locally form sub-massive centimetre-sized bands. Apatite as a cumulus phase is ubiquitous. Locally it may account for 30% of the ore-rich samples and some samples consist of apatite-Fe-Ti oxides-Fe-Cu-Ni sulphides with virtually no silicate. Apatite is the main REE carrier but the total REE content remains low (<90 ppm). Mineral compositions and whole rock geochemistry indicate that the rocks are highly differentiated, and in spite of a relatively limited thickness, the differentiation process is observed. Two zones can be distinguished: from the bottom to 162.8 m we see a decrease in the Mg number of olivine and pyroxene, and a drop in TiO2 and Al2O3 for the latter. A reverse trend is then observed within the pyroxenite unit from the 162.8 m level upwards. The main mineralized zone is located in the upper part of this unit, about 70 m above this discontinuity. The highly differentiated Fe-Ti-P facies of the Lanjanina series in the Itsindro Gabbro Complex have been interpreted as corresponding to the Fe-Ti-P rich, Si-poor member remaining after an immiscible segregation of an evolved mafic magma. The granite dykes and the overlying granite unit represent the second, Si-rich member of the immiscibility process. The presence of large amounts of sulphide is attributed to sulphur contamination of the Fe-Ti-rich liquid. Fe-Ti oxides will tend to crystallize on the sulphide droplets and the accumulation of dense Fe-sulphides (liquid) and associated Fe-Ti oxides (solid) will result in this complex and unusual association taking the form of a net texture.
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hal-01816579 , version 1 (21-11-2023)



Thierry Augé, Laurent Bailly, Jean-Yves Roig. A double Fe-Ti oxide and Fe-sulphide liquid immiscibility in the Itsindro Gabbro Complex, Madagascar. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 2017, 135, pp.152-172. ⟨10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.08.009⟩. ⟨hal-01816579⟩


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