Title page for ETD etd-06062008-164845


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Fedo, Christopher M.
URN etd-06062008-164845
Title Geologic evolution of the Archean Buhwa Greenstone Belt and surrounding granite-gneiss terrane, southcentral Zimbabwe
Degree PhD
Department Geological Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Blenkinsop, T. G. Committee Member
Eriksson, Kenneth A. Committee Member
Law, Richard D. Committee Member
Read, James Fredrick Committee Member
Tracy, Robert J. Committee Member
Keywords
  • Stratigraphic
  • Geology
Date of Defense 1994-09-05
Availability restricted
Abstract

The Archean (~3.0 Ga) Buhwa Greenstone Belt, and surrounding granite-gneiss terrane, is the least understood major greenstone belt in the Archean Zimbabwe Craton, despite occupying a critical position between an early Archean continental nucleus and the Limpopo Belt. The cover succession in the Buhwa Greenstone Belt, which was probably deposited on the margin of this nucleus, is divisible into shelfal and basinal facies associations separated by a transitional facies association. The shelfal association consists mostly of quartzarenite and shale, but also contains a thick succession of iron-formation. Geochemical characteristics of the shales indicate that the source terrane consisted of several lithologies including tonalite, mafic-ultramafic volcanic rocks, and granite that underwent intense chemical weathering. Basinal deposits consist dominantly of greenstones, with less abundant chert and ironformation. The cover succession, which was deposited on a stable shelf transitional to deep water, has no stratigraphic equivalents elsewhere on the Archean Zimbabwe Craton. However, time and lithologic correlatives in the central zone of the Limpopo The Archean (-3.0 Ga) Buhwa Greenstone Belt, and surrounding granite-gneiss terrane, is the least understood major greenstone belt in the Archean Zimbabwe Craton, despite occupying a critical position between an early Archean continental nucleus and the Limpopo Belt. The cover succession in the Buhwa Greenstone Belt, which was probably deposited on the margin of this nucleus, is divisible into shelfal and basinal facies associations separated by a transitional facies association. The shelfal association consists mostly of quartzarenite and shale, but also contains a thick succession of iron-formation. Geochemical characteristics of the shales indicate that the source terrane consisted of several lithologies including tonalite, mafic-ultramafic volcanic rocks, and granite that underwent intense chemical weathering. Basinal deposits consist dominantly of greenstones, with less abundant chert and ironformation. The cover succession, which was deposited on a stable shelf transitional to deep water, has no stratigraphic equivalents elsewhere on the Archean Zimbabwe Craton. However, time and lithologic correlatives in the central zone of the Limpopo ~2.9 Ga in southern Africa.

At ~2.9 Ga, the northern margin of the greenstone belt experienced kilometerscale, oblique-slip dextral shearing. This shear zone and the surrounding margins of the greenstone belt were later intruded by the ~2.9 Ga Chipinda batholith, which ranges from granitic to tonalitic in composition.

A number of events occurred during the time period spanning 2.9-2.5 Ga and current geochronology cannot separate their order; some are known to be coeval. Crustal shortening to the northwest, which resulted in map-scale folding of the cover succession (and surrounding batholith) and greenschist-facies metamorphism, occurred along a set of discrete high-angle reverse-sense shear zones in response to uplift the Northern Marginal Zone of the Limpopo Belt over the Zimbabwe Craton. Two suites of potassic granites were intruded into the area near the end of reverse shearing. Analysis of a conjugate fault pair that is developed within one of the potassic granite suites, yields a principal compressive stress consistent with continued northwest-directed crustal shortening. The region was stabilized by ~2.5 Ga, with intrusion of the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe. It is possible that the last events to affect the area, which include sinistral shearing, transecting cleavage development, and northwest-striking open folding, took place during the 2.9-2.5 Ga time intervaL These structures post-date regional folding and metamorphism, but because of limited magnitude and extent, do not show obvious cross-cutting relationships with other rocks or structures. A tenable alternative is that these late structures formed at ~2.0 Ga. an age that is proving to be of great significance in the evolution of the Limpopo Belt and along parts of the southern margin of the Zimbabwe Craton.

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