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Geochemical mapping of the deeply weathered western Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia, using laterite geochemistry



Geochemical mapping of the deeply weathered western Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia, using laterite geochemistry



Geochemistry - Exploration, Environment, Analysis 8(3-4): 241-254



Multi-element analysis of ferruginous nodules and pisoliths from lateritic residuum, derived lag and ferruginous gravel, selected from locally derived colluvium (laterite) sampled at an approximate 9 km interval (triangular grid) over the western Yilgarn Craton, shows regional geochemical trends, major lithologies and dispersion halos around significant bedrock mineralization. The sample density (one sample per 60-100 km (super 2) , depending on sample availability) and extent of the coverage (c. 400 000 km (super 2) , including large unsampled areas in drainage) mean that the data are potentially valuable for both exploration and environmental purposes. More than 3100 samples have been analysed for 53 elements by XRF, ICP-AES and ICP-MS, with selected samples also analysed for PGE. Elevated Au abundances in the NE of the survey area not only cluster around known gold deposits but extend beyond them, indicating the likelihood of more widespread mineralization in these areas. A chalcophile element index illustrates potential for Au and base metal mineralization in the westernmost part of the Yilgarn Craton, whereas a pegmatophile index shows a regional NW trend parallel to regional structures. Abundant chromium in granite-dominated areas might indicate mafic-ultramafic remnants (some with anomalous Au) beyond known greenstone belts. A newly discovered regional Hg anomaly trends NW for more than 500 km. Anomalous As, Bi, Mo and Sb along the southern margin of the craton may be related to Au mineralization. The spatial and geochemical consistency of the dataset means that it is well suited to multivariate statistics.

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Accession: 022712459

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DOI: 10.1144/1467-7873/08-172


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