Thesis: Dynamics and emplacement mechanisms of mafic magma networks with implications for intrusion-hosted magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide deposits
Research on Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide mineralisation has so far mainly addressed the petrology and geochemistry of the immediate environs of ore deposits as well as the lithosphere-scale controls on the localization of Ni-sulfide camps. However, while there is consensus that Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide deposits are associated with high-flux magma channels that transport mantle-derived mafic and ultramafic melts through the crust, the mode of emplacement and self-organization of these magma feeder systems remain poorly understood in the context of magmatic-sulfide systems. I use unmanned aerial vehicles combined with outcrop and lab-based microanalytical techniques, to map the geometry of mafic intrusions, their fabrics and their variable internal chemistry. Three field areas being examined represent distinct levels, from deep to shallow crustal settings: 1) Mineralized mafic pipes in the Ivrea Zone, NW Italy; 2) Independence dike swarm, SE California, USA; 3) Sulfide-bearing and barren mafic intrusions along the south coast of Western Australia.
Why my research is important
This research contributes to our understanding of the physical processes by which mafic intrusion networks develop. Magmatic sulfide deposits hosted in such systems account for ~60% of world nickle production and include some of the most valuable mineral camps on earth such as Noril'sl-Talnakh (Russia), Voisey's Bay (Canada), and Jinchaun (China). A better understanding of physical emplacement processes will help in identification of sites within large magmatic systems with the greatest potential for Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation.