Timing of supergene enrichment of low-grade sedimentary manganese ores in the Kalahari Manganese Field, South Africa

J. Gutzmer, A. P. Du Plooy, N. J. Beukes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Low-grade carbonate-rich manganese ore of sedimentary origin in the giant Kalahari Manganese Field, South Africa, is upgraded to high-grade todorokite-manganomelane manganese ore by supergene alteration below the unconformity at the base of the Cenozoic Kalahari Formation. Incremental laser-heating 40Ar/ 39Ar dating of samples from the supergene altered manganese ore suggest that chemical weathering processes below the Kalahari unconformity peaked at around 27.8Ma, 10.1Ma and 5.2Ma ago. Older ages are dominant in the upper part of the weathering profile, while younger ages are characteristic of the deeper part of the profile. Younger ages partially overprint older ages in the upper part of the weathering profile and demonstrate the downward progression of the weathering front by as little as 10cm per million years. The oldest age obtained in the weathering profile, namely 42Ma, is considered a minimum estimate for the onset of the post African I cycle of weathering and erosion that followed the break up of Gondwanaland and formation of the Cretaceous to early Cenozoic African land surface. The youngest ages, recorded at around 5Ma, in turn, correspond well to the Pliocene transition from humid to arid climatic conditions in Southern Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-153
Number of pages18
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Volume47
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

Keywords

  • Ar geochronology
  • Kalahari Manganese Field
  • Rate of chemical weathering
  • South Africa
  • Supergene alteration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology

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