Refereed Article Unusual baryte-bearing hybrid basalt, Bourke-Byrock area, northern New South Wales

Citation: Sutherland F.L., Barron B.J., Colchester D.M. and McKinnon A.R.. 2007. Unusual baryte-bearing hybrid basalt, Bourke-Byrock area, northern New South Wales. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales. 140. 27-45.

Abstract:

Drilling near Mount Oxley and Mullagalah in the Bourke-Byrock area, NSW,intersected basaltic breccia pipes. The Mount Oxley basalt is an unusual hybrid rockinvolving intimate veining and intermingling between a slightly evolved basanite and a stronglyevolved, late-stage, baryte-bearing trachyte. The basanite consists of abundantphenocrystsof altered olivine and diopside-augite, and rarer phenocrysts of nepheline, anorthoclase andTi-rich magnetite, in a groundmass of plagioclase laths and Ti-rich magnetite grains. Thetrachytic component is dominated by alkali feldspar, largely sanidine, with calcic amphibole (Ti-Mg-rich hastingsite), baryte (with up to 2% Sr in coarser crystals) and secondarycarbonates. Olivine-microgabbro and microsyenite xenoliths in the basalt suggest that the cumulates were formed from both the basanitic and trachytic magmas prior to emplacement. Xenoliths of, and xenocrysts from, high pressure ultramafic metamorphic assemblages (spinel harzburgite and spinel websterite) indicate a mantle source for the basanitic magma. Two-pyroxene temperatures based on Wells thermometry suggest these ultramafic assemblageswere re-equilibrated under an ambient paleogeotherm between 990–1035?C. Similar basaltappears in the Mullagalah breccia pipe, but lacks the phenocrystic nepheline and the hybrid baryte-bearing trachyitic component found in the Mount Oxley basalt. Xenoliths in theMullagalah breccia include a cumulate-like olivine-bearing diopside-amphibole (K-Ti-richferroan pargasite) assemblage. The Mount Oxley and Mullagalah intrusions are not well dated,but were probably formed during Late Mesozoic-Late Cenozoic intraplate basaltic activity thatoccurred in eastern Australia, from magmas generated at mantle depths exceeding 38 km.

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