GEOLOGY OF THE BARBERTON GOLD-MINING DISTRICT

    Abstract

    THE Geological Survey of the Union of South Africa has issued an important memoir on the geology of the Barberton gold-mining district. This district is made up essentially of the Older Granite and the Swaziland System, probably of pre-Cambrian age, and underlying the Transvaal System, the latter being of importance mainly as determining the great escarpment of the Drakensberg; it may be noted that the latter contains auriferous deposits, both reef and alluvial, that have been worked for some thirty-five years. The tectonics of the Barberton district are very complex, intense folding, in various regions, such as the Sheba Hills, having been brought about by the intrusion of the great masses of granite. One of the most interesting features of this report lies in the conclusions reached respecting the genesis of the auriferous deposits of the Barberton district. Apart from the alluvials, auriferous deposits of two types are recognised, namely, pyritic quartz reefs and zones of impregnation. The former occur mainly in the granite of the De Kaap valley, and in some of the older rocks, and in many cases the results obtained from thei'- exploitation have been, upon the whole, disappointing. The latter include some of the best known deposits, such as the famous Sheba Mine; the deposits do not show definite walls, and the auriferous rock does not differ from the surrounding country except by its impregnation with iron pyrites and with gold, often very finely disseminated, so that the'workable limits of the deposits can be established only by continual assays. It is pointed out that the zone of contact between the granite and the adjoining stratified rocks is the area within which most of the important gold-bearing deposits are situated, and it is suggested that “gold occurrences are far more likely to be expected within the sphere of influence of the intrusive granite,” this forming a belt of country averaging about three miles in width. Furthermore, in prospecting, it should not be forgotten that many of the payable deposits of the Barberton district take the form, not of the well-defined quartz reef, with which most prospectors are familiar, but of “mineralised zones of impregnation, sometimes almost indistinguishable from country rock.”

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    GEOLOGY OF THE BARBERTON GOLD-MINING DISTRICT. Nature 101, 415–416 (1918). https://doi.org/10.1038/101415b0

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