Geological constraints on the eruption of the Jwaneng Centre kimberlite pipe, Botswana

RJ Brown, TM Gernon, J Stiefenhofer, M Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Geological mapping has allowed constraints to be placed on the eruption mechanisms involved in the formation of the Late Permian–Early Triassic Jwaneng Centre kimberlite pipe, Botswana. Twelve lithofacies and three lithofacies associations (LFA 1–3) are recognised. LFA 1 comprises massive to bedded volcaniclastic kimberlite and marginal shale breccias and outcrops over 65% of the surface area of the pipe. It is characterised by a lithic population dominated by Transvaal shale clasts. LFA 1 grades into LFA 2, which comprises massive and bedded volcaniclastic kimberlite and volcaniclastic breccias and outcrops over 19% of the surface area of the pipe. The lithic population of LFA 2 is dominated by contorted and fluidal-outlined Karoo-age mudstones and siltstones. LFA 3 comprises a wedge-shaped unit in the north of the pipe and consists of a series of allochthonous megablocks of sedimentary and volcaniclastic strata. The juvenile clast type and matrix mineral assemblages of the volcaniclastic deposits in the Centre Pipe differ from those in many other southern African kimberlite pipes. Various emplacement models for kimberlite pipes are discussed and evaluated in the light of the new geological data. Both a maar–diatreme model and an explosive volatile-driven eruption model could account for much of the geology of the Centre Pipe and distinguishing between the two models based on deposits alone is difficult. There is strong circumstantial evidence for ambient conditions favourable to phreatomagmatism at the time of the eruption, and the influence of external water may explain the differences between the Jwaneng Centre Pipe and the Class 1 kimberlites common across Southern Africa in terms of both the juvenile clasts and of the inter-clast cement. However, low abundances of some types of lithic inclusions derived from major country rock units pose an unresolved problem for a classic maar–diatreme model of pipe formation.
Translated title of the contributionGeological constraints on the eruption of the Jwaneng Centre kimberlite pipe, Botswana
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195 - 208
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume174 (1-3)
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Elsevier


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