Early Precambrian Crustal Evolution and Mineral Deposits, Pilbara Craton and Adjacent Ashburton Trough

  1. Raymond A. Price
  1. J. G. Blockley,
  2. A. F. Trendall and
  3. A. M. Thorne

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM048p0159

Origin and Evolution of Sedimentary Basins and Their Energy and Mineral Resources

Origin and Evolution of Sedimentary Basins and Their Energy and Mineral Resources

How to Cite

Blockley, J. G., Trendall, A. F. and Thorne, A. M. (1989) Early Precambrian Crustal Evolution and Mineral Deposits, Pilbara Craton and Adjacent Ashburton Trough, in Origin and Evolution of Sedimentary Basins and Their Energy and Mineral Resources (ed R. A. Price), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM048p0159

Author Information

  1. Department of Mines, Geological Survey of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875904528

Online ISBN: 9781118666654

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Keywords:

  • Sedimentary basins—Congresses;
  • Mines and mineral resources—Congresses;
  • Power resources—Congresses

Summary

The early Precambrian rocks making up the Pilbara Craton (comprising the Pilbara Block and the Hamersley Basin) and contiguous Ashburton Trough in northwestern Australia resulted from more-or-less continuous operation of various geological processes from 3.5 Ga to 1. 7 Ga. This suggestion contrasts with the long-held view that there was a major time gap, of the order of 400 to 500 Ma, between the stabilization of the ‘Archean' Pilbara Block and the deposition of the overlying ‘Proterozoic' rocks of the Hamersley Basin. The continuum of geological events preserved in the rocks allows an assessment of the contained mineral deposits over their 1.8 Ga history. Gold, nickel and chromium are restricted mainly or entirely to units older than 3.0 Ga, reflecting the common association of these metals with ultramafic rocks; tin-tantalum deposits, normally rare in rocks of this age, are related to post-tectonic granites intruded during the last stage of the cratonization of the Pilbara Block at about 2.8–3.0 Ga; iron and manganese occur mainly in rocks dated at about 2.5 Ga, corresponding to the maximum development of chemical sediments; while copper, lead and zinc appear at intervals throughout the entire column without any apparent overriding age control.