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Metamorphic modifications of the Muremera mafic–ultramafic intrusions, eastern Burundi, and their effect on chromite compositions

Journal of African Earth Sciences
DOI: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2014.09.004
  • Karagwe–Ankole Belt
  • Kibaran Tectonomagmatic Event
  • Mafic–Ultramafic Intrusion
  • Alteration
  • Serpentinization
  • Ferritchromite
  • Chemistry


Abstract The Muremera mafic–ultramafic intrusions were emplaced into metasedimentary rocks of the Karagwe–Ankole Belt in eastern Burundi, as part of the Mesoproterozoic Kibaran tectonomagmatic event. Igneous minerals of the Muremera intrusions have been partly altered to hydrous and carbonated metamorphic assemblages, although in most cases, the original igneous textures are well-preserved. Rounded, subhedral cumulus olivine has been partially and pseudomorphically replaced by lizardite–magnetite mesh-rim and lizardite–brucite mesh-centre assemblages, while anhedral interstitial plagioclase has been replaced by chlorite–tremolite. A later and localized event results in prograde alteration to antigorite–magnetite–chlorite–talc–carbonate and talc–carbonate–chlorite assemblages. The rocks are inferred to have undergone at least three separate metamorphic/alteration events resulting in: AS1 – an early alteration assemblage (mesh-rim lizardite–magnetite) characterized by very low fluid/rock ratios and widespread distribution; AS2 – a later, widespread low-temperature retrogressive (mesh-centre lizardite–brucite) assemblage associated with abundant close-spaced parallel veins; AS3 – later, prograde (antigorite–magnetite) and AT4 (talc–chlorite–carbonate) assemblages associated with more localized shearing and higher fluid/rock ratios. The AS1 assemblage most likely represents deuteric alteration that occurred soon after intrusion and cooling. The AS2 assemblage may relate to a continuation of this cooling, or may be correlated with the regional upright D2 folding event, while the AS3 and AT4 alteration assemblages are most likely correlated with the N–S oriented D3 faulting episode linked to the distal East African Orogeny. Euhedral to subhedral chromite grains are essentially unaltered where enclosed in primary unaltered olivine, pyroxene or plagioclase, as well as in AS1 lizardite–magnetite and AS2 lizardite–brucite altered olivine or pyroxene. In samples which show alteration to AS3 antigorite–magnetite and AT4 talc–carbonate–chlorite assemblages, the chromite grains are zoned to Mg–Al-poor ferritchromite rims. The width and the composition of these alteration rims are related to the degree of alteration of the silicate assemblages. However, it is concluded that chromite found in rocks that have avoided late/localized AS3–AT4 alteration preserve their magmatic to late-magmatic chemical and textural characteristics, and can therefore be used in regional geological studies and exploration.

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