Variable sulfur isotope composition of sulfides provide evidence for multiple sources of contamination in the Rustenburg Layered Suite, Bushveld Complex

Nivea Magalhães*, Sarah Penniston-Dorland, James Farquhar, Edmond A. Mathez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Rustenburg Layered Suite (RLS) of the Bushveld Complex (BC) is famous for its platinum group element (PGE) ore, which is hosted in sulfides. The source of sulfur necessary to generate this type of mineralization is inferred to be the host rock of the intrusion. The RLS has a sulfur isotopic signature that indicates the presence of Archean surface-derived material (Δ33S≠0) in the magma. This signature, with an average value of Δ33S=0.112±0.024‰ deviates from the expected Δ33S value of the mantle of 0±0.008‰. Previous work suggested that this signature is uniform throughout the RLS, which contrasts with radiogenic isotopes which vary throughout the igneous stratigraphy of the RLS. In this study, samples from key intervals within the igneous stratigraphy were analyzed, showing that Δ33S values vary in the same stratigraphic levels as Sr and Nd isotopes. However, the variation is not consistent; in some levels there is a positive correlation and in others a negative correlation. This observation suggests that in some cases distinct magma pulses contained assimilated sulfur from different sources. Textural analysis shows no evidence for late addition of sulfur. These results also suggest that it is unlikely that large-scale assimilation and/or efficient mixing of host rock material in a single magma chamber occurred during emplacement. The data do not uniquely identify the source of sulfur in the different layers of the RLS, but the variation in sulfur isotope composition and its relationship to radiogenic isotope data calls for a reevaluation of the models for the formation and evolution of the RLS, which has the potential to impact the knowledge of how PGE deposits form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume492
Early online date16 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Bushveld Complex
  • Crustal contamination
  • Rustenburg Layered Suite
  • Sulfur isotopes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Variable sulfur isotope composition of sulfides provide evidence for multiple sources of contamination in the Rustenburg Layered Suite, Bushveld Complex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this