The geological evolution of a part of the Pongola basin, southeastern Kaapvaal Craton.
Gold, Digby James Comrie.
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A stratigraphic and structural study of the Archaean Pongola Sequence on the southeastern Kaapvaal Craton centred on the area around the Klipwal Gold Mine is described. The lower predominantly volcanic Nsuze Group is overlain with a gradational transition by the upper clastic Mozaan Group in which six formations are recognized. The Sinqeni, Ntombe, Thalu, Hlashana, Odwaleni and the Kulphiso Formations. The Sinqeni and Hlashana Formations are predominantly arenaceous while the Ntombe and Kulphiso Formations are mainly argillaceous. The Odwaleni Formation contains a diamictite which is interpreted as a tillite, and is therefore the oldest glacial rock on record. The stratigraphic position of the Kulphiso Formation is problematic. The Mozaan Group was deposited in a deepening epeiric sea which was invaded periodically by storm generated deposits. Dolerite and ultramafic dykes and sills of various ages are represented. Three phases of deformation are recognized in the Klipwal area. Early compression from the south-southeast initiated a major zone of bedding-parallel shear, the Izermijn shear zone, along the Nsuze-Mozaan contact and an oblique ramp, the Klipwal shear zone, at a higher stratigraphic level. An extensional phase caused reactivation of the Klipwal shear zone and the development of a major low-angle normal fault, the Gu'nsteling fault, above the Sinqeni Formation. The main phase of deformation, related to northeast-southwest compression is the most complex and most widely developed. Early northwest-trending subhorizontal upright folds were disrupted by contemporaneous north-striking dextral or dextral reverse shearing and northwest-striking sinistral or sinistral normal shearing. The obtuse relationship of these shear zones to the compression direction is probably the result of reactivation of basement structures with similar orientations. Northwest-trending folding continued during and after the shearing. The structural styles and orientations observed in the Klipwal area are recognized regionally in the main Pongola basin, highlighting the need for further detailed studies before basin-wide correlations are made.