The Cyclops Mountains Massif (New Guinea, Indonesia) as the provenance area for metal-bearing shelf sediments from the Carolinian Sea

Karol Zglinicki, Krzysztof Szamałek


In 2009, on the initiative of PT Halmahera Perkasa the “Jayapura” exploration project was carried out in Indonesia. As part of this project, exploration of the sea bottom in the northern coast of New Guinea was carried out over a distance of ~45 km. The suction dredge collected 59 samples of loose sediments from the shelf bottom surface of the Carolinian Sea (to a depth of 60 m below the sea-floor). The extracted samples are usually poorly and moderately sorted sands (5 samples), medium-grained sands (21 samples), and fine-grained sands (33 samples). The sand composition shows, among others, a wide spectrum of heavy minerals of ultra-mafic (Cr-garnet, chromium spinel, Mg-olivine) and metamorphic (epidote, clinochlore, amphibole, titanite) origin. The content of heavy minerals in the sediments is up to 54.77 wt.%. It was found that the source of heavy fraction in the eastern and western parts of the coast is the rock of the ophiolite series building the Cyclops Mountains Massif. The mineral composition of sediments from the central coastal zone corresponds to the types of rocks building the metamorphic core of the Cyclops Mountains (amphibolite, gneisses, andesite). Three mineral-geochemical subprovinces were determined on the basis of analyses of heavy mineral decomposition and chemical analyses of sediments. Shelf sediment from the eastern part of the coast is characterized by an increased content of strategic metals (Ni up to 3560, W up to 3130 and Co up to 142 ppm). In the central zone, the V content increases up to 244 ppm and the Ag content up to 5 ppm. In the shelf sediments there is a strong depletion in the REE.


continental shelf sediments; Cyclops Mountains; New Guinea; heavy minerals; geological prospection; marine minerals

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