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ORIGIN AND MODE OCCURRENCE OF

CHROMITITES IN THE MANTLE SECTION OF
MUSLIM BAGH OPHIOLITES, NE,
BALOCHISTAN, PAKISTAN.

MONOGRAM

MUSHTAQUE AHMED PATHAN
B.Sc (Hons) M.Sc Geology,
University of Sindh, Jamshoro,
Sindh, Pakistan

Dissertation submitted for the degree of
Master of Philosophy
2004

Centre of Excellence in Mineralogy
University of Balochistan, Quetta.
Pakistan
CERTIFICATE
As a Research Supervisor, I approve this dissertation for the
M.Phil Examination as required under the rule 3 (a) of the
University of Balochistan M.Phil Rules.

TITLE OF DISSERTATION Origin and mode of occurrence of
chromitites in the mantle section of
Muslim Bagh ophiolites, NE
Balochistan, Pakistan.

NAME OF THE CANDIDATE MUSHTAQUE AHMED PATHAN

DR. KHALID MEHMOOD
Research Supervisor &
Associate Professor
C.E.M, UoB, Quetta

Dr. Mehrab Khan Baloch
Co-Supervisor &
Associate Professor
Department of Geology
UoB, Quetta

Prof. Dr Mohsin Raza
Acting Director,
Centre of Excellence in Mineralogy
University of Balochistan,
Quetta.
CERTIFICATE
I hereby certify that following dissertation is based on the results of
research carried out by me, that it is my own composition and that it has not
previously been presented for the degree of Master of Philosophy.

MUSHTAQUE AHMED
PATHAN
Centre of Excellence in
Mineralogy
University of Balochistan,
Quetta.
DEDICATION

This research thesis is dedicated to the great British geologist
E. Vrendenburg, who discovered the chromite deposits in the
Muslim Bagh (Hindu Bagh) ophiolites in 1901, and the mine
labours who worked / are working manually in the tough
climate & environment.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This study for this dissertation for the degree of Master of Philosophy
was conducted at the Centre of excellence in mineralogy, university of
Balochistan, Quetta. I am grateful to the Centre of excellence in mineralogy,
university of Balochistan to approve my registration as a student of Master
of Philosophy degree program.

I have to express my deep gratitude to my supervisor
Dr. Khalid Mehmood, Associate Professor for full time supervision during
field and laboratory work. Instead of that he also very humbly cooperated to
check the written matter with care & attention which really enabled me to
enhance my professional knowledge during research.

Similarly I am grateful to my co-supervisor Dr. Mehrab Khan Baloch,
Associate Professor, Department of Geology, University of Balochistan,
Quetta, Who also gave me a valuable guidance & encouragement despite of
many shortcomings. His cooperation helped me to complete my work.

I am also thankful to all the faculty members and supporting technical
staff of the Centre who extended their cooperation to complete the different
stages of research work.

I could not ignore the cooperation of my personal friends Mr.
Ghulam Nabi Chhajro of GSP, HQ, Quetta who provided me
accommodation and mess facilities through out the research period and
Mr. Gul Hassan Kalhoro, Stenographer, GSP, Quetta who helped me to type
the material.

Once again I extend my heartiest thanks to Dr. Khalid Mehmood &
Dr. Mehrab Khan for their personal participation to guide me for the
completion of this dissertation. They really spared their precious time for
me, without whom this work could not have been done.
ABSTRACT.
The structural studies of podiform chromite bodies from Muslim Bagh ophiolite
result in a division of deposits into three major types: discordant, sub concordant and
concordant, with penetrative structures (foliation and lineation) in the enclosing
peridotites. Discordant deposits are irregular in shape. Subconcordant deposits are are
generally tabular in shape, Concordant deposits are also tabular and lie parallel to the
foliation in peridotites. Spinel and pyroxene lineation in host peridotites always indicates
the elongation direction of the deposit. Within subconcordant and discordant deposits,
chromite lineations are often oblique to those in the surrounding rocks. These chromite
deposits in ophiolitic peridotites are thought to have been formed beneath an oceanic
spreading ridge. The chromite deposits in the Muslim Bagh ohiolites are located in the
harzburgite and dunite zones.
Ru-Os-Ir-bearing minerals have been located in chromites in the Muslim
Bagh ophiolite complex. The most common mineral is lurite (Ru, Os, Ir) S2. An irasite
was located as part of a composite with luarite. One mottled Ru-oxide was identified in
silicate interstitial to the chromite grains. This paper documents \, for the first time, the
presence of discrete platinum-group minerals (PGM) in the Muslim Bagh ophiolite,
following the report of occurrence of Ir and Os in 1996 by Nakagawa et al. Fifteen
chromite-rich samples were studied using as SEM to locate and analyze to PGM. The
samples came from both the Jang Tor Ghar and Saplai Tor Ghar blocks of the ophiolite.
PGM have been found in both sample sets. PGM enclosed in chromite grains are often
euhedral and sometimes associated with silicate inclusions in chromites. PGM in contact
with interstitial silicates are often subhedral or rounded and may be mottled and
composite indicating that they have been affected by alteration.
PREFACE
In Pakistan, ophiolite rock assemblage occurs in a belt that marks the suture
between the Eurasian plate and the Indian plate. The largest ophiolites of this belt are the
Bela and Muslim Bagh ophiolites, located in the north east of Quetta and is one of the
well exposed ophiolites of Pakistan.
The Muslim Bagh ophiolites are present in the two massifs Jang Tor Ghar (west)
and Saplai Tor Ghar (east)massifs. Tang Tor Ghar is mainly in mantle peridotite whereas
the Saplai Tor Ghar massif extends from the basal metamorphic sole through a thick
mantle section into the crust. The mantle section is cross cut by numerous doleritic dikes
parallel to the dominant trend in the sheeted dike complex. The mantle section contains
lenticular mafic bodies of kilometric size, interpreted as mini magma chamber.
(Mehmood 1994).
The crustal section is not well developed and is represented by gabbros ans a
sheeted dike complex. The majority of crustal section preserves feature of high and
moderately high temperature plastic deformation, which is responsible of subverticle
attitude of the Moho. The trend of the sheeted dikes complex is NW-SE and is interpreted
to be parallel to the orientation of oceanic ridge, and is largely affected by amphibolite
facies metamorphism.
Chromite, often expressed as (Mg, Fe) (Cr, Al, Fe)2 O4, results from segregation
from ultra basic igneous rocks and is usually associated with dunites, peridotites,
pyroxynites, and serpentine. It is often associated with other minerals including those of
nickel, cobalt, gold, platinum group elements, titaniferous, magnetite, chrysotile asbestos.
The deposits may occur as tabular masses, lenses or sometimes as disseminated ore
which may have been converted to workable deposits by weathering and removal of the
enclosing rock leaving behind the insoluble chromite. Regular parallel seems of ore are
sometimes founds.
The mineral chromite (Fe) Cr2O3) is the only important ore of chromium. The
natural mineral is rarely pure chromite, FeO being replaced by MgO and Cr2O3 by Al2O3
or Fe2O3. As a consequence, the highest grade of ore usually contains only about 55%
Cr2O3 and the Cr2O3 content in salable ores runs down from this figure to about 40%.
Chromite ranges in colour from dark brown to black. Its luster is sub-metallic and its
hardness 5.5 on Moh’s scale. The specific gravity ranges from 4.0-4.6 and its melting
point from 1545-1857 (±20oC) and the boiling point is, 2,672 (±20º C). The fracture is
uneven and the ore is brittle.
Ophiolites are important relics of oceanic crust (Coleman 1977) and a study of
them (Nicolas 1989) shows the 3 dimensional structure of the crust but they have also
undergone deformation and alteration during emplacement onto continental crust.
Ophiolites may contain economic deposits of chromite, which may be enriched in all six
of the platinum-group elements (PGE) (Crocket 1979, Leblanc 1991, Prichard et al. 1996,
Pedersen et al. 1993, Auge 1985, Corrivaux and LaFlamme 1990, Edvards 1990,
Ohnenstetter et al. 1991). It is well known that Os, Ir, and Ru-bearing PGM are hosted by
podiform chromitites (Ahmed and Bevan 1991, Ahmed and Hall 1982, Stockman and
Hlava 1984, Talkinton et al. 1983, Auge 1986, Legendre and Auge 1986, Prichard et al.
1981, Prichard et al. 1994, Constantinides et al. 1980, Arai et al. 1999, Ahmed and Arai
2002). It is the aim of this study to record the presence of Os-Ir- and Ru-bearing PGM in
the Muslim Bagh ophiolite complex.

PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The chromite is the principal mineral commodity of Pakistan used in local
industry & exported to the world, one of the main purpose of the study is to furnish a
geological guidance to the chromite industry with the help of geological map of the
chromite producing are and to study in detail, the chromite deposits in order to determine
their origin and the controls of the ore bodies. The emphasis therefore has been given on
the penetrative structures (layering, foliation, lineation) of the ophiolites. For this purpose
the internal structures of the peridotites were mapped in the field for the following
objectives:

i) Origin of chromite deposits.

ii) Setting of chromite deposits.

iii) Structure of chromite deposits.

iv) Composition of chromite deposits.
v) Origin of host rocks.

vi) Presence of platinum group elements in the chromite deposits of Muslim
Bagh Ophiolites.