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Lithostratigraphy, depositional environments and sedimentology of the Permian Vryheid Formation (Karoo Supergroup), Arnot North, Witbank Coalfield, South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. B. Cairncross en
dc.contributor.author Uys, Joanne
dc.date.accessioned 2009-04-30T09:28:39Z
dc.date.available 2009-04-30T09:28:39Z
dc.date.issued 2009-04-30T09:28:39Z
dc.date.submitted 2007-12
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/2464
dc.description M.Sc. en
dc.description.abstract This work documents the lithostratigraphy and interpreted depositional environments of the Permian Vryheid Formation in the most northern proximal setting yet studied in the Witbank Coalfield. Data from 924 boreholes from two mining companies (Anglo Operations Ltd. and Xstrata Coal Ltd.) drilled over 50 years, covering an area of 910km2 revealed a 35m sequence of terrigenous clastic sedimentary rocks containing two coal seams. These seams are numbered No. 1 at the base and No. 2 at the top. Delineation of facies type, facies assemblages, lateral facies distributions and computer-based three-dimensional modeling facilitated the interpretation of the palaeodepositional environments. Eleven lithofacies are defined and interpreted hydrodynamically. Facies classification is based primarily on grain size and sedimentary structures. The modeling of the borehole information uses the finite element method to interpolate the thickness, roof and floor surfaces and trend of each seam and inter-seam parting between boreholes. The spatial position of the boreholes is defined using a digital terrain model that represents the current surface topography. Lateral distributions were correlated by repositioning the boreholes using the base of the No. 2 seam as a datum. Glaciofluvial, glaciolacustrine, bed-load (braided) fluvial and constructive progradational deltaic environments are interpreted in the study area. Fluvial channel sequences are dominant and cause the thinning of the coal seams below channel axes as well as splitting of both the No. 1 and No. 2 seams. Glaciofluvial influences also affect the lower portion of the No. 1 seam. Basement palaeotopography restricts the distribution of the lower splits of the No. 1 seam. The coals either ‘pinch-out’ or are absent above basement highs but blanket the adjacent low-lying areas. In contrast to the greater Witbank Coalfield, but concurrent with other studies in the more northern proximal regions, fluvial systems dominate over deltaic systems in the study area. Glaciodeltaic, fluviodeltaic and anastomosed channel fluvial systems recognized in the remainder of the Karoo Basin were fed by the braided fluvial systems in the study area. The close proximity of the study area to the northern edge of the basin accounts for the subtle differences in lithostratigraphy and interpreted depositional environments when compared with more distal sites to the south. For example, glaciofluvial clastic sediment input in the lower portions of the No. 1 seam and post-Karoo erosion that has removed the overlying seams; the deltaic progradational sequence, above the No. 2 seam, occurs twice in succession and the bioturbation, that has become characteristic of sedimentary sequence of the Vryheid Formation above the No. 2 seam in the central and southern parts of the Karoo Basin, is not as identifiable. These differences are explained by the extreme proximal location of the study area on the northern basin margin relative to the remainder of the Karoo Basin. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Stratigraphic geology en
dc.subject Sedimentology en
dc.subject Facies (Geology) en
dc.subject Lithofacies en
dc.subject Karoo Supergroup en
dc.subject Mpumalanga (South Africa) en
dc.title Lithostratigraphy, depositional environments and sedimentology of the Permian Vryheid Formation (Karoo Supergroup), Arnot North, Witbank Coalfield, South Africa en
dc.type Thesis en


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