The geology of the Ngoye granite gneiss formation.
The Ngoye Granite Gneiss Formation is located in the Natal sector of the Proterozoic Namaqua-Natal Mobile Belt, about 10 km southwest of Empangeni. It forms a prominent east-west trending elongate whalebacked massif some 30 km in length, within amphibolitic gneisses and schists of the Tugela Group. A suite of twelve different, gneissic granitoids has been-recognised within the Ngoye Formation on the basis of field relationships, mineralogy and supportive geochemistry. They range in composition from peraluminous syenite to peralkaline granite. Peraluminous varieties are typically muscovite and garnet-bearing whereas metaluminous granites in the formation contain olivegreen biotite and/or hornblende and sphene. Riebeckite, aegerine and yellow-brown biotite, with accessory fluorite and zircon are characteristic of the peralkaline granites. Geochemically, the samples analysed display a range in SiO₂ from 63,79 - 78,47∞, are extremely depleted in CaO and MgO, while being enriched in Na₂O and K₂O. Depletion of CaO relative to alkalis is shown by an alkali-lime index of only 36, suggestive of an alkalic character. The agpaitic index (A. I. = mole Na₂O + K₂O/AL₂O₃) of the peralkaline samples ranges between 1,02 and 1,16; which classifies them as granites of comenditic affinity. Various chemical classification schemes have been tested and evaluated, of which the RI - R2 multicationic diagram provides results most similar to modally-derived terminology. Accordingly, the Ngoye granitoids are shown to range from minor syenites and alkali granites to predominant monzo - and syeno-granites. Trace element data indicate that the peralkaline granites are enriched in Nb, Zr and Zn relative to the other, non-peralkaline, granites in the formation. In addition, radioactive, magnetite-bearing quartz-rich rocks associated with the peralkaline granites, have extremely enhanced contents of Nb, Zr, Y, Zn, U, Th and to a lesser extent Sn and W. Peraluminous and near-peraluminous granites have the highst Rb/Sr and Rb/Ba ratios of all samples analysed, as well as enhanced Sn, U and Th contents while Zr is notably depleted. Small, muscovite-rich pods associated with muscovite-bearing granites are highly enriched in Sn. The application of certain discriminants based on modal and geochemical parameters has shown the Ngoye Formation to comprise typical "A" - type granites. "A" - type granites are characteristically intruded as ring complexes into anorogenic or post-orogenic tectonic settings in attenuated or epiorogenically-domed continental crust. Comparison of the Ngoye Formation wi th the well-known "younger granite" complexes of Nigeria and Saudi Arabia reveals marked similarities. The inference is therefore that the Ngoye Formation represents a metamorphosed "postorogenic" granite complex with most of the hallmarks of "A" type or "within-plate" magmatism. Four phases of deformation (D₁ to D₄) are recognised within the area mapped. Evidence of D₁ deformation is rare, but rootless folds within the transposed layering in the amphibolitic country rocks reflect the intensity of this prograde metamorphic event, M₁, during which upper amphibolite grades were achieved. Field evidence shows that the Ngoye granites were intruded after the D₁ event and prior to D₂. This latter event caused widespread folding about east-west F₂ axes, with the development of a pervasive S₂ planar fabric within the antiformally folded Ngoye Formation. S₂ is locally developed in the amphibolitic country rocks. The D₂ event culminated in the development of northward-directed overthrusting and retrogressive ,M₂, metamorphism of mylonitic thrust planes. Lateral shearing characterizes D₃, with development of macroscopic mylonites and mesoscopic conjugate shear zones. This was in response to a sinistral sense of movement, as indicated by prominent sub-horizontal extension lineations (L₃) and microscopic asymmetric augen structures. D₄ is deduced from stereograms and is indicated as cross-folding of F₃ fold axes.