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University of the Witwatersrand (2020)

Distribution of rare earth elements in the Epembe Carbonatite Dyke, Opuwo Area, Namibia

Kapuka, Ester P.

Titre : Distribution of rare earth elements in the Epembe Carbonatite Dyke, Opuwo Area, Namibia

Auteur : Kapuka, Ester P.

Université de soutenance : University of the Witwatersrand

Grade : Masters of Science in Economic Geology 2020

Résumé
The Epembe carbonatite dyke at the Epembe Carbonatite-Syenite Complex in the Kunene region on the northwestern border of Namibia was emplaced along a northwest-trending fault zone, into syenites and nepheline syenites and extends for approximately 6.5 km in a northwest to southeast direction with a maximum outcrop width of 400 m. The Epembe carbonatite has a Mesoproterozoic age of 1184 ± 10 Ma which is slightly younger than their host nepheline syenites (1216 ± 2.4 Ma). Following the geological data collection and laboratory analysis of whole-rock samples [using optical microscopy, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)] the collected data was studied in detail in order to determine the geochemical composition of the Epembe carbonatite dyke. This research therefore presents new geochemical data for the Epembe carbonatite in order to describe the distribution and occurrence of rare earth elements of this dyke. The carbonatite displays a heterogeneous characteristic both texturally and mineralogically highlighting clear successions of at least three magmatic pulses. Irrespective of the changes, all carbonatite phases are inferred to be sourced from the same magma because they are typified by a similar geochemical signature of both major and trace element composition. They are characterised by high concentrations of calcium (CaO : 38.01 - 55.31 wt. %), phosphorus (P) (up to 18076), titanium (Ti) (up to 5122 ppm) strontium (Sr) (up to 12315 ppm) and niobium (Nb) with the (highest value of up to 2022 ppm ) alongside low concentrations of iron (FeO : 0.87 - 9.29 wt. %), magnesium (MgO : 0.19 – 1.33 wt. %) silica (SiO2 : 1.30 – 10.89 wt. %) and total alkalis (K2O + Na2O < 2.0 wt. %) , hence they are regarded as one carbonatite dyke.

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