Iron 2010
Major Iron Deposits of South Africa & Brazil
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[Brazil field workshop]

Quadrilátero Ferrífero field workshop.   On the day after the Brazil classroom workshop in Belo Horizonte, Prof. Carlos Rosiére (green T-shirt on top-centre image) led a field workshop across the Quadrilátero Ferrífero.   The workshop commenced in the western ("low strain") section of the district, at and around the Pau Branco mine (lower right - owned by Vallourec and Mannesmann Mineracao) aided by the mine's chief geologist, Luiz Vannucci (blue shirt, third from the right on the top-centre image). The host sequence and mineralisation were observed at a number of stops (top right) across the district including near Ouro Preto, the home of Brazilian mining (lower second from the left image), ending at the Pitangui deposit in the eastern ("high strain") section of the district where the group observed a cliff of soft foliated hemtite, dominated by specularite (upper left), glistening in the afternoon sunshine. Through much of the district, it was possible to see the landmark Pico de Itabirito (lower left), a sharp pinnacle of massive, hard hematite surrounded by large mines. Throughout the district the characteristic sequence was obvious, commencing with the Archaean Rio Das Velhas greenstone basement, overlain by the Palaeoproterozoic Minas Supergroup, commencing with the topographically prominent Moeda quartzites and conglomerates, which pass rapidly into the more subdued Batatal phyllite, both of which belong to the Caraça Group, and then to the Itabira Group comprising the Cauê Formation Itabirite (the BIF hosting the iron deposits of the region) and overlying dolomites, which are followed by more quartzites and phyllites of the Piracicaba Group. The group was transported throughout the long day that lasted from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm in a van (lower third from left image), broken by a relaxing lunch in the rustic village of Catas Altas.   Photographs by Mike Porter.

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