Nature and origin of the protolith succession to the Paleoproterozoic Serra do Navio manganese deposit, Amapa Province, Brazil

Chisonga, B.C., Gutzmer, J., Beukes, N.J., and Huizenga, J.M. (2012) Nature and origin of the protolith succession to the Paleoproterozoic Serra do Navio manganese deposit, Amapa Province, Brazil. Ore Geology Reviews, 47. pp. 59-76.

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Abstract

Until its closure in 1997, the Serra do Navio deposit, located in Amapá Province, Brazil, was one of the most important sources of high-grade manganese ore to the North American market. The high-grade manganese oxide ores were derived by lateritic weathering from metasedimentary manganese protoliths of the Serra do Navio Formation. The local geological context and nature of this protolith succession are not well understood, due to poor surface outcrop conditions, and intense deformation. However, based on similar age, regional tectonic setting and lithology the Paleoproterozoic volcanosedimentary succession that includes the Serra do Navio Formation is widely believed to be similar in origin and laterally equivalent to the Birimian Supergroup in West Africa. For the present investigation several diamond drill cores intersecting the protolith succession were studied. Detailed petrographic and whole rock geochemical studies permit distinction of two fundamental lithological groups comprising of a total of five lithotypes. Biotite schist and graphitic schist lithotypes are interpreted as former metapelites. A greywacke or pyroclastic protolith cannot be excluded for the biotite schist, whereas the graphitic schist certainly originated as a sulfide-rich carbonaceous mudstone. Rhodochrosite marble, Mn-calcite marble and Mn-silicate rock are grouped together as manganiferous carbonate rocks. Manganese lutite constitutes the most probable protolith for rhodochrosite marble, whereas Mn-calcite marble was derived from Mn-rich marl and Mn-silicate rock from variable mixtures of Mn-rich marl and chert.

The sedimentary succession at the Serra do Navio deposit is similar to that encountered at many other black shale and chert-hosted Mn carbonate deposits. A metallogenetic model is proposed, predicting deposition of manganese and closely associated chert in intra-arc basins, in environments that were bypassed by distal siliciclastic (carbonaceous mud) and proximal pyroclastic/siliciclastic detritus. Positive Ce anomalies and δ13CVPDB values of −4.3 to 9.4 per mill suggest that manganiferous carbonates derived during suboxic diagenesis from sedimentary Mn4+ oxyhydroxide precipitates. Metamorphic alteration of manganese carbonate–chert assemblages resulted in the formation of Mn-silicates, most importantly rhodonite and tephroite; porphyroblastic spessartine formed where Mn-carbonate reacted with aluminous clay minerals. Microthermometric studies of fluid inclusions in spessartine porphyroblasts suggests that peak metamorphic conditions reached the upper greenschist facies (1–2 kbars and 400–500 °C). Retrograde metamorphism is marked by partial re-carbonation, expressed by the formation of small volumes of rhodochrosite, and Mn-calcite that are closely associated with quartz, chlorite and minor amounts of sulfides related to post-metamorphic veinlets. It is this metamorphosed succession that sourced the high-grade manganese oxide ores during prolonged lateritic weathering.

Item ID: 29831
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-7360
Keywords: Serra do Navio manganese deposit, Brazil, lithogeochemistry, metamorphic petrology, fluid inclusion microthermometry, metallogenesis
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2013 09:36
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040307 Ore Deposit Petrology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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