Geology of Nicholson's point granite, Natal Metamorphic Province, South Africa: The chemistry of charnockitic alteration and origin of the granite

G. H. Grantham, A. R. Allen, D. H. Cornell, C. Harris

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6 Citations (Scopus)


In the Port Edward area of southern Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, charnockitic aureoles up to ∼4 m in width are developed adjacent to contacts with Port Edward enderbite and pegmatites intruded into the normally garnetiferous Nicholson's Point granite. Other mineralogical differences between the aureoles and the granite include increased myrmekite and significantly less biotite in the former and the replacement of pyrite by pyrrhotite in the charnockitic rocks. No significant differences in major element chemistry between the garnetbiotite Nicholson's Point granite and charnockitic Nicholson's Point granite are seen, except possibly for higher CaO and TiO2 in the charnockite. Higher Rb, Th, Nb and Y contents in the garnet-biotite granite suggest that these elements have been locally depleted from garnetbiotite granite during charnockitization. This depletion is considered to be related to the reduction in biotite. Strontium and Ba contents are significantly higher in the charnockite. Generally higher S contents in the charnockite suggest S metasomatism, with S possibly being added from the enderbite. No differences in δ18O isotope data are seen between the garnetiferous and hypersthene bearing granite. In the charnockite the LREEs are weakly depleted whereas the HREEs show greater depletion compared to the garnetiferous granite. The depletions in REEs are thought to be related to the breakdown of garnet. Europium is marginally enriched or unchanged in the charnockite relative to the garnetiferous granite. Two-pyroxene thermometry on the Port Edward enderbite suggests that it was intruded at temperatures of ∼1000-1100°C. The replacement of pyrite by pyrrhotite is also consistent with a thermal auroele. Consequently the charnockitic zones developed around the intrusions of Port Edward enderbite may result from the thermally driven dehydration of biotite. The aureoles developed adjacent to pegmatites are not considered to have resulted from heat but probably by destabilisation of biotite by a low aH2O fluid phase, possibly hypersaline brines. The Nicholson's Point granite has geochemical characteristics typical of within-plate granites, A-type granites and rapakivi granites, however the stable and radiogenic isotope characteristics suggest a significant crustal component in the source. Copyright * 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-484
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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