Citation

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Stewart, A.J. & Warren, R.G., 1977. The mineral potential of the Arunta Block, central Australia. BMR Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics  2:1:21-34. Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Canberra.

Abstract

The Arunta Block is the mass of Precambrian basement rocks in the southern part of the Northern Territory of Australia. It comprises an early Proterozoic (or older) discontinuous sequence of sedimentary and volcanic rocks that were multiply deformed and initially metamorphosed 1800-1700 m.y. ago, and numerous granite masses that intruded the metamorphic rocks from 1700 to 1000 m.y. The metavolcanic rocks are concentrated in the lower part of the sequence, and the sedimentary rocks become more mature and better differentiated towards the top of the sequence. One carbonatite and a mantle-derived intrusion of kimberlitic affinity are located near a major crustal lineament in the east of the Block. Mineral occurrences as presently known are small and in general uneconomic; only one small mine was operating in 1976. The occurrences can be grouped into the following types: I - Stratabound: copper-lead-zinc in metasediments in the lower and middle parts of the sequence; 2 - Pegmatitic: mainly copper, tin, tungsten, and tantalum derived from granite, and mica in pegmatites formed by partial melting of meta-sediments; 3 - Metasomatic: tungsten, molybdenum, and minor copper in calc-silicate rocks adjacent to granite; 4 - Hydrothermal: gold in a zone of late Palaeozoic deformation and retrogressive metamorphism, and fluorite-barite veins in zones of late Palaeozoic warping; 5 - Magmatic: very minor copper, nickel, and chromium, in mafic and ultramafic rocks; and 6 - Weathering: manganese and uranium in superficial Phanerozoic rocks. The mineral occurrences are areaIIy distributed in two zones which are directly related to the distribution of major rock-types in the Block. The stratabound occurrences in the lower part of the sequence, magmatic occurrences, mica pegmatites, and hydrothermal gold deposits are located in the southern part of the Block; the stratabound occurrences in the middle part of the sequence, metal-bearing pegmatites, metasomatic occurrences, and hydrothermal fluorite-barite veins are located in the north. In terms of future prospects, stratabound base-metal lodes in the lower part of the sequence, metasomatic tungsten, and superficial uranium are the most likely candidates for economic success. Diamonds, rare earth elements, and niobium, as yet undiscovered, are possibilities along or near the major lineament in the east of the Block. The Arunta Block shows marked geological resemblances to The Granites-Tanami, Tennant Creek, and Willyama Blocks in Australia, and to the Precambrian rocks of the Baltic and East African regions. All these regions are economically mineralized to some degree, and this, together with its own mineralization, suggests that the Arunta Block holds some potential for economic deposits. How much is a matter for further exploration and assessment.
Google map showing geographic bounding box with values North bound -19.0 East bound 137.0 West bound 130.0 South bound -25.0
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Date (publication)

1977

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Earth Sciences

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English

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-19.0
East bound
137.0
West bound
130.0
South bound
-25.0

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2015-05-19

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