Thesis: Geological History of the Flying Fox Nickel Deposit, Forrestania Greenstone Belt, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia
The Flying Fox nickel deposit is a komatiite-associated nickel sulfide deposit located in the Forrestania Greenstone Belt. This deposit is atypical of the komatiite-associated class of high-grade nickel deposits in that the ore is commonly sited in non-ultramafic rocks, in either felsic metasedimentary schists or against the contact with a late-stage granitoid intrusive rock.
The aim of this project is to constrain structural and metamorphic controls recognised in the nickel sulphide deposit and host rocks, and to define a deposit model integrating the main geological characteristics including lithostratigraphy, structural controls, metamorphic history and hydrothermal alteration evolution.
The ultimate aim is to use this in understanding: (a) tenor variations throughout the orebody, and (b) the mechanism by which the nickel sulphides are remobilised, which in turn can be used to broaden the scope for exploration.
Why my research is important
Many world-class magmatic nickel sulphide deposits occur within post-Archaean terranes and form as a result of unique combination of physical, chemical and magmatic process.
Consequently, exploration models are formed on the basis of deep footwall embayments, the presence of thick high Mg komatiite flows in the hanging wall, the absence of sedimentary rocks, and systematic variations in tenor.
However, these models have been developed without a full understanding of post-magmatic overprints such as deformation and metamorphism. Although most previous studies recognise post-volcanic deformation, few detailed structural studies have been undertaken.
The Flying Fox Nickel Deposit project will therefore be focusing on the role of deformation and magmatism in modifying and controlling the nickel ore shoots, as this must be understood before intricate models of the volcanic and stratigraphic relationships can be evaluated.