oa South African Journal of Geology - Lead isotopic signatures : further examination of comparisons between South Africa and Western Australia

Volume 89 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1012-0750
  • E-ISSN: 1996-8590



This paper reviews apparent similarities in the Pb-isotope patterns of galenas from South Africa and Western Australia. As prelude, the discussion is preceded by a brief summary of the geological information contained within these uranium-free leads, and of the all-important question of "pseudoisochrons": how do we decide when an apparent lineation on the standard isotopic variation diagrams has no geochemical meaning, but is merely an expression of analytical error? Discussion proceeds by means of examples culled from the literature, augmented for Western Australia by a summary table of some new precise data. A growing body of successful correlations between presumed "Pb-source rock" and displacement from the "ore-lead growth curve" point to a possibly major difference between the neighbouring Murchison and Barberton regions in South Africa. It is concluded that the similarities between the post-Archaean of Western Australia and the Aggeneys-Gamsberg locality in the North-West Cape Province is likely to be a reflection of no more than a similarity in past geological processes. Modelling of such a process seems best left until more detailed locality studies can justify selection of the geologically relevant data.

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