Entity ID: 464203 Compiled by: Stewart, A.J. Year: 2009 Status: Defined
Last Revised: 2013
Rank: superprovince Type: tectonic Subtype: craton Location: WA On-shore and off-shore
Synonyms: NA Symbol: NA
Minimum age: Mesoarchean, 2830 ± 0 Ma Age method: isotopic, U/Pb
Maximum age: Eoarchean, 3800 ± 0 Ma Age method: isotopic, U/Pb
Summary: The Pilbara Craton is a major Archean granite-greenstone terrance of northwestern Western Australia, containing some of the oldest rocks on Earth. The craton hosts precious and base metal mineral deposits, and is overlain by the the iron-ore-bearing sedimentary rocks of the Fortescue and Hamersley Basins.
Area (square kilometres): 60000 State: WA Resources: Gold One deposit >10 t Au (Bamboo Creek), several 1-10 t Au, several < 1t Au. Ag in some also. Resources: Copper Two deposits > 100,000 t Cu, one deposit 10,0000 - 100,000 t Cu, several deposits < 10,000 t Cu. Resources: Barium Two major deposits Resources: Zinc Salt Creek deposit 10,000 t - 100,000 t Zn. Resources: Nickel Two deposits Sherlock Bay > 50, 000 t Ni, Mt Sholl 10,000 t - 50,000 t Ni. Resources: Tin One deposit 1,000 t - 10,000 t Sn, several deposits < 1,000 t Sn; Ta in some deposits Country: AUS
Parent: No data
Child Provinces: Sylvania Dome
Adjoins - Hamersley Basin [Fault contact at lat. -22.62, long. 120.63, and at lat. -23.38, long 120.03.]
Is intruded by - Warakurna Large Igneous Province
Underlies - Canning Basin, Edmund Basin, Fortescue Basin, Northern Carnarvon Basin, Officer Basin
Constituent units: Croydon Group, Mount Bruce Supergroup, Warrawoona Group, Roebourne Group, Budjan Creek Formation, Gorge Creek Group, Whundo Group, Andover Intrusion, Sulphur Springs Group, Kylena Formation, Meentheena Member, Abydos Monzogranite, Carlindi Granitic Complex, Mingah Member, Mopoke Member, Kelly Group, Soanesville Group, Homeward Bound Granite, Cherratta Granitic Complex, Strelley Pool Formation, Razorback Chert, Warrawoona Group - basalt, Yule Granitic Complex, Kurrana Granitic Complex, Port Robinson Basalt
Events: East Pilbara Stages 1-2, East Pilbara Stage 3, East Pilbara Stage 4, East and West Pilbara Stage 5 (Prinsep Orogeny), East and West Pilbara Stage 6, East and West Pilbara Stage 7, East and West Pilbara Stage 8, East and West Pilbara Stage 9, East and West Pilbara Stage 10, East and West Pilbara Stage 11, East and West Pilbara Stage 12
Mineral Deposits: Whim Creek, Mount Sholl, Kennedy Gap, Munni Munni, Zakanaka, Juna Lockyer, Salt Creek, Sunrise Hill, Mickeys Find, Rocklea, Spinifex Ridge, Mons Cupri, Bernts, Nimingarra, Yarrie_NIM (Mt Goldsworthy JV Northern - BHP), Mickeys Find East, Shay Gap, Barton - Nullagine, Ord Range, Quartz Circle, Ministers North, Shearers, Pilbara, Christmas Creek, Camel 2, Cattle Gorge, Breens, Tabba Tabba, Friendly Creek, Indee, Coondiner HD4 East, Blue Spec, Marble Bar, Whundo, Moolyella, Toweranna, Andover, Wodgina, Sulphur Springs, Pilgangoora, Kalgan Creek East, Big Stubby, Carlow South, Euro - Marble Bar, All Nations, Mount Goldsworthy, Roy Hill, Fieldings Gully, Elizabeth Hill (Munni Munni), Claytons Hammer, Lynas Find, Golden Eagle - Nullagine, Nimingarra, Pinarra Well, Lynas Find, Weld Range (Midwest Corp), Ruth Well, Kangaroo Caves, Mickey's Find Southern, Sherlock Bay, Radio Hill, Cundaline Gap, Roe, Pamelia HD6, Bamboo Creek, Shaw River Mining Centre, Lennons Find, Chichester Hub - Others Group - FMG, Chichester Hub - Cloudbreak Christmas Creek (FMG), Coobina, Mount York, Camel 1, Calvert, Withnell, Mindy Mindy (Pilbara Iron Ore Ltd), Cane River, Balmoral Central (Sino Iron), Hamersley Iron - Brockman No 2, Boolgeeda Creek, McPhee Creek (Atlas Iron), Panorama, Cape Lambert Magnetite (Metallurgical Corp of China Ltd), Golden Gate - Nullagine, Wingina Well, Lalla Rookh, Hamersley Iron - Brockman No 4, Gambols, Otways, Pardoo-Ridley (Atlas Iron), Balmoral Southern Block (Australasian Resources Ltd), White Knight, Little Wonder - MML, Condor - Nullagine, Falcon - Nullagine, Harrier - Nullagine, Phils Creek (Mineral Resources ), Wiluna West Hematite (Golden West), West Pilbara (API), Balla Balla (Rutila Resources), Abydos (Atlas Iron), Kings (Solomon - FMG), Marillana Iron Ore (Brockman Mining), Pardoo Highway (Ni Cu), Caliwingina North, Hope Downs 5,6, Nullagine (BC Iron), Davidson Creek (FerrAus-Atlas), Yalleen (Helix Resources), Rocklea - Pilbara Iron (Dragon Energy), Jimblebar (Atlas Iron), Wonmunna Iron Ore (Ascot Resoruces), Anthiby Well, Iron Valley (BC Iron), Mount Oscar (Fox Resources Ltd), Pilbara (Flinders), Wodgina ( Atlas Iron), Mount Webber (Atlas Iron), Turner River (Atlas Iron), Daltons (Mount Webber-Atlas JV Hoama), Caramulla South (Atlas), Cookes Creek - Big Hill, Crow, G Reef, Evelyn, Koodaideri South (Hamersley Iron), Boundary (IOH), Bungaroo South - Western Pilbara Hub (IOH), Extension, Spearhole (Dynasty Metals), Golden Spec, Green Spec, Warrawanda (Atlas), Mount Dove (Atlas Iron), Iron Bridge-North Star-Glacier Valley (FMG), Poondano (Process Minerals Int.), Bellary Springs, Cubana Well, Spinifex Ridge - hematite (Moly Mines Ltd), Copenhagen, McCameys North, Fingers, Mirrin Mirrin, North Marillana -South (Australian Aboriginal Corp)), Lamb Creek (Mineral Resources), Maitland River (BC Iron), Hamersley Iron Ore - (Winmar Resources & Cazaly), Buckland Hills (IOH), Nyidinghu ( FMG), Buckland-West Pilbara- (BC Iron), Yandicoogina south (Nexus Minerals), Mount Alexander Magnetite (Zenith Minerals), Pilbara Iron Ore (Flinders Mines), Mount Stuart -Catho Well (Cullen & Aquila), Solomon Hub -FMG, Eliwana-FlyingFish (FMG), Sheila Valley, Eliwanna (Western Hub - FMG), Flying Fish (Western Hub - FMG), DID (Western Hub - FMG, Mount Macleod (Solomon - FMG), Valley of the Queens (Solomon - FMG), McCamey's North (Atlas - SE Pilbara), Hercules - Wodgina (Atlas Iron), Discovery - Orchard Well, Orchard Tank, Roscoes Reward, Red Spec, Weerianna, Bibra, Miaree magnetite (Iron Mountain), Hickman (Atlas Iron), Junction - Nullagine, Amanda, Western Creek (Atlas), Western Creek (Giralia Resources), Railway, Hamersley Iron - Western Turner Syncline, Nullagine Au 81, Klondyke Queen, Klondyke King, Turee Syncline Iron Ore
Key Reference: Hickman, A.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J. 2008, Archean crustal evolution and mineralization of the northern Pilbara Craton - a field guide., Geological Survey of Western Australia. Record, 2008/13, 79p (Refid:64642)
Comments: 3800 Ma dates are detrital and xenocrystic zircons and Nd model ages on granites. The oldest stratigraphic unit in greenstones is 3525 Ma. Minimum age is U-Pb zircon date on the Split Rock Supersuite.
Overview: The Pilbara Craton comprises six components:
(1) Early crust (3800-3530 Ma) inferred mainly from geochronological data, some rare exposures.
(2) The East Pilbara Terrane, which ranges in stratigarphic age from 3525 to 3165 Ma and consists of four volcano-sedimentary groups and one formation. The Warrawoona Group consists of basalt with lesser felsic volcanic and sedimentary rocks. It includes the Strelley Pool Formation, which is a carbonate-siliciclastic unit with early Archean stromatolite and microbial fossils. The Kelly Group consists of mafic, ultramafic,and felsic volcanic rocks and local siliciclastic rocks and chert. The Sulphur Springs Group consists of volcanic rocks (ultramafic, mafic, and felsic) and siliciclastic sedimentary rocks. The Soanesville Group consists of clastics, banded iron formation, basalt, and ultramafic and mafic sills. The greenstones surround ovoid granitic complexes of five supersuites (Callina, Tambina, Emu Pool, Cleland, and Mount Billroth) that evolved contemporaneously with deposition of the felsic volcanic component of the greenstones. Granite of a sixth supersuite (Elizabeth Hill) formed during collision at ~3070 Ma of the East Pilbara Terrane and West Pilbara Superterrane. Three more granite supersuites (Sisters, Cutinduna, and Split Rock) were emplaced at 2945-2830 Ma. The earliest granites formed by melting of a mafic parent, whereas the later granites formed by melting and recycling of felsic crust.
(3) The West Pilbara Superterrane, with an stratigraphic age range of 3270-3060 Ma, consists of three granite-greenstone terranes. The Karratha Terrane comprises the Roeburne Group (ultramafic, mafic, and felsic volcanic rocks), which is intruded by the Karratha Granodiorite and by granites of the Maitland River and Orpheus Supersuites. The Sholl Terrane comprises the Whundo Group (mafic, ultramafic, and felsic volcanic rocks and thin sedimentary units) and Railway Supersuite. The Regal Terrane (~3200-~3000 Ma) is a slab of basalt, peridotite and chert that may have been obducted from the ocean floor over the Karratha Terrane. The Elizabeth Hill Supersuite (~3070 Ma) intrudes both East Pilbara Terrane and West Pilbara Superterrane.
(4) The Kurrana Terrane, which is located in southeastern part of the exposed craton has a total age range of 3200-2895 Ma, and consists of two granitic supersuites and minor greenstone.
(5) The De Grey Superbasin, with a stratigraphic age range of 3020-2930 Ma, consists of five sedimentary basins (including two major basins - Mallina and Mosquito Creek) that are filled with sedimentary and volcanic rocks of the De Grey Supergroup. This unit unconformably overlies the West Pilbara Superterrane and East Pilbara Terrane. The supergroup comprises four groups: the Gorge Creek Group, which was deposited across both East Pilbara Terrane and West Pilbara Superterrane, the Whim Creek Group along the southeast margin of the West Pilbara Superterrane, the Croydon Group, which is developed between the East Pilbara Terrane and the West Pilbara Superterrane, and the Nullagine Group in the southeast between East Pilbara and Kurrana terranes. Four granitic supersuites (Orpheus, Maitland River, Sisters, and Cutinduna) were emplaced into the Pilbara Craton during De Grey deposition, and were followed by Split Rock Supersuite - late fractionated granites.
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- FOR MAXAGE: Hickman, A.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J., 2008, Archean crustal evolution and mineralization of the northern Pilbara Craton - a field guide., Geological Survey of Western Australia. Record, 2008/13, 79p. (Refid: 64642)
- FOR PROVINCE-GENERAL: Hickman, A.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J., 2008, Archean crustal evolution and mineralization of the northern Pilbara Craton - a field guide., Geological Survey of Western Australia. Record, 2008/13, 79p. (Refid: 64642)