Application of Morphostructural and Spatial Analyses in Placer-Gold Source Interpretation within Wonaka Schist Belt, Northwestern-Nigeria
Morphologic and placer features were used to characterize, determine the provenance, and transport distances of gold grains within the River Gagare drainage basin of the Wonaka Schist Belt. Field studies, scanning electron examination coupled with energy dispersive spectrometry and binocular microscopy were utilized to study the spatial distributions, shape, size, inclusions, primary and fluvial transport-induced deformations, as well as Cailleux flatness indices. The grains are dominantly subrounded (71%), with the length between 35 – 800 µm and width of 10 – 778 µm while the rounded grains have a mean length of 292.5 µm and width of 179 µm. Similar values for circularity and sphericity are observed in the sub-rounded grains, with slight variations of 2.7 circularity and 2.6 sphericity
distinguished in the rounded grain subset. The Cailleux flatness index range from 2.5 to 9 for subrounded grains and 2 – 15.5 for the rounded, indicating the multisource nature of the grains. The grains are consistent with short to moderate transport distances from the lode sources. The similarities in physical features, lack of delicate secondary growth structures and irregular grain outlines point to a detrital source for the placer deposits. Evidence of emulsion crystallisation type is indicated by the presence of sub- to anhedral inclusions within the Au grains.
Keywords: Placer gold, Cailleux flatness indices, Wonaka Schist Belt, Provenance, Northwest Nigeria