Eolian indicator mineral dispersion haloes from the Orapa kimberlite cluster, Botswana
This paper presents the results of an investigation into the structure of eolian kimberlite indicator minerals (KIMs) haloes present within Quaternary Kalahari Group sediments (up to 20 m thick) overlying the Late Cretaceous kimberlites in the Orapa field in North-East Botswana. A database of more than 8000 samples shows that kimberlites create a general mineralogical blanket of KIMs of various distances of transportation from primary sources in the Orapa area. Models of the reflection and dispersion patterns of KIMs derived from kimberlite pipes including AK10/ AK22/AK23 have been revealed based on 200 selected heavy mineral samples collected during diamond prospecting activities in Botswana from 2014 to 2017. Short distance eolian haloes situated close to kimberlite bodies cover gentle slopes within plains up to 500 × 1000 m in size. They have regularly have oval or conical shapes and are characterized by the presence mainly of unabraded or only slightly abraded KIMs. A sharp reduction of their concentration from hundreds and thousands of grains / 20 l immediately above kimberlites toto 10 grains/20 l at a distance of only 100–200 m from the pipes is a standard feature of these haloes. The variation of concentration, morphology and abrasion of specific KIMs with increasing distance from the primary sources has been investigated and presented herein. Sample volumes recommended for pipes present within a similar setting as those studied, with different depth of sedimentary cover are as follows: up to 10–20 m cover at 20–50 l, 20–30 m cover at 50–100 l and 30–80 m cover at 250 l. It is important to appreciate that the discovery of even single grains of unabraded or slightly abraded KIMs in eolian haloes are of high prospecting significance in this area. The results of the research can be applied to in diamond prospecting programs in various regions with similar environments.
KeywordsKimberlite indicator minerals Degree of abrasion Garnet Ilmenite Chrome-diopside Diamond
It is a pleasure to thank Natalia V. Antonova and Irina S. Galushkina for their assistance during the preparation of the manuscript. We are grateful to Casey M. Hetman and to Gareth Garlick for constructive comments and detailed review which considerably improve the manuscript.
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