Bushveld Igneous Complex

Bushveld Igneous Complex

Bushveld Igneous Complex

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The Bushveld Igneous Complex (or BIC) is a large layered igneous intrusion within the Earth's crust which has been tilted and eroded and now outcrops around what appears to be the edge of a great geological basin, the Transvaal Basin. Located in South Africa, the BIC contains some of the richest ore deposits on Earth. The reserves of platinum group metals (PGMs), platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, rhodium, and ruthenium are the world's largest, and there are vast quantities of iron, tin, chromium, titanium and vanadium. Gabbro or norite is also quarried from parts of the Complex and rendered into dimension stone. The site was discovered around 1897 by Gustaaf Molengraaff.


The Bushveld Igneous Complex covers a pear-shaped area in the central Transvaal is divided into an eastern and western lobe, with a further northern extension. All three sections of the system were formed around the same time — about 2 billion years ago — and are remarkably similar. Vast quantities of molten rock from the Earth's mantle were brought to surface through long vertical cracks in the Earth's crust — huge arcuate differentiated lopolithic intrusions — creating the geological intrusion known as the Bushveld Igneous Complex. These intrusions are thought to predate the nearby Vredefort impact to the south, by some 30 million years. The...
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