ALBITITE

 

Albitite is an uncommon metamorphic rock.  The sample below is a slightly pyritic albitite from Thackaringa in the Broken Hill Block of far-western New South Wales, southeastern Australia.  It looks like a quartzite, but it’s not.  It consists principally of light-gray & translucent albite (sodium-rich feldspar - NaAlSi3O8) (fine striations on cleavage planes are clearly visible throughout the rock when viewed through a microscope) plus some dark-gray & translucent quartz (SiO2).  Disseminated specks of brassy-colored pyrite (FeS2) are also present.  The yellowish coloration along the margin of the specimen is a weathering rind.

 

Albitite at Thackaringa is only one of many metamorphic rocks making up the Thackaringa Group (lower Willyama Supergroup), a high-grade metamorphic succession that’s late Paleoproterozoic in age (~1.688 to 1.710 million years old).  Australian workers have identified at least two episodes of intense metamorphism of these rocks - one at about 1.660 billion years ago, and one at about 1.599-1.600 billion years ago.

 

There’s disagreement about the precursor rock (protolith) of this albitite.  Before metamorphism, it was possibly a succession of tuffs and arkoses, representing a nonmarine rift-valley fill.

 

Locality: Thackaringa outcrop - natural exposures at the far-western end of Pine Ridge, south of the Barrier Highway, near railroad tracks, ~28-31 km west-southwest of the city of Broken Hill (= locality of O'Callaghan, 2001 - Sulfides in Regionally Metamorphosed Terrains: the Broken Hill Block, NSW.  Honors Thesis.  Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.  pp. 10-12) (vicinity of 32° 04’ 51” South, 141° 11’ 31” East).

 

Albitite (9.2 cm across) from Thackaringa, Broken Hill Block, New South Wales, Australia.  It’s composed principally of albite feldspar plus some quartz and disseminated small crystals of pyrite.

 


 

Collected & generously donated by Molly Tannian.

 


 

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