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Corundum Mine, Mt Painter area, Arkaroola Region (Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary; Arkaroola Station) , North Flinders Ranges, Flinders Ranges, South Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 30° 13' 47'' South , 139° 17' 44'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -30.22972,139.29556
Köppen climate type:BSh : Hot semi-arid (steppe) climate

Located in Corundum creek 6 km West of Mt Painter.

From Crooks and Abbot (2003):
Corundum was discovered by WB Greenwood in 1906 in an unnamed creek, later named Corundum Creek, ‘4 miles west of Mount Painter and 2 miles east of Mount Pitts’ (Brown, 1908; Fig. 1). In 1909 Greenwood revisited the area on behalf of the Mount Painter Corundum and Gem Syndicate of Adelaide, and in the course of prospecting, discovered other corundum-bearing outcrops to the west and SE of Mount Painter. In 1910 a 1 t sample of corundum-bearing material was collected at the original discovery locality via a small adit, subsequently known as the Corundum Mine, for shipment to England for appraisal of its economic potential as a source of abrasives. The area was studied in detail by Ward (1913), who noted that the highest grade corundum deposit occurred at the Corundum Mine with lower grade deposits located on the NE side of Mount Painter and in the valley between Mount Painter and Mount Gee.

The host rocks for the corundum are mica schists forming part of the Corundum Creek Member of Suite 4 of the Radium Creek Metamorphics, metasediments of probable Palaeoproterozoic age (Teale, 1993). The schists trend E–W with southerly dips ranging from 50° to vertical. The corundum was formed in response to high temperature (700°C), low pressure (3–5 kb) regional metamorphism (GS Teale in Giles and Johnson,1981) of aluminous, silica-deficient, mica schist derived from
shale and mudstone. The beds have been intruded by numerous pegmatites of
probable Ordovician age which tend to follow the grain of the country rocks (Coats and Blissett, 1971, Blissett, 1973). Dwyer (2000), however, cast doubt on the sedimentary origin corundum bearing schists. She described a corundum schist associated with amphibolite dyke rocks in the East Painter district and, based on detailed geochemistry, suggested a hydrothermally-altered, ultramafic origin for these and other corundum-bearing schists in the district.

The corundum at the Corundum Mine occurs in segregated crystalline lumps, as roughly hexagonal crystals and as small irregularly-shaped pieces disseminated throughout the schist. It is usually blue, mottled white or green, and associated with small crystals of rutile, tourmaline, spinel and cordierite. In places the spinel is
abundant and the corundum subordinate. Monazite and apatite have been recorded. Fragments of gem-quality corundum were noted including clear blue sapphire, ruby and oriental emerald.

Brown (1908) stated that the corundum is present over a width of nearly 1 km at creek level and could be traced 50 m up the hill side. In places corundum forms 10–25% of the rock but Ward (1913) concluded that the total amount of schist bearing corundum was not large and doubted whether an appreciable bulk of material averaging 5% corundum could be produced. Difficulty with grade control, lack of water and transport problems contributed to the down-grading of the Corundum Mine’s potential as a commercial supply of abrasives (Ward, 1913).

The deposits have been a source of supply for mineral collectors. In 1981 the Corundum Mine was placed on the register of geological monuments by the Geological Society of Australia, SA Division, because of its scientifically interesting mineral assemblage (Giles and Johnson, 1981). Apart from the main Corundum Creek locality, corundum has been identified, and in some cases mapped out, at many locations in the Mount Painter district (GM Teale, Teale and Associates Pty Ltd, pers. comm., 2002; SB Hore, PIRSA, pers. comm., 2002). It also displays a variety of parageneses apart from its formation in meta-pelites as discussed above, from accessory mineralisation in Delamerian pegmatites crosscutting Neoproterozoic sediments, to an association in altered Mesoproterozoic mafics (GM Teale, Teale and Associates Pty Ltd, pers. comm., 2002) as also identified by Dwyer (2000).

Mineral List

11 valid minerals.

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org

1600 - 2500 Ma

ID: 727783
Radium Creek Metamorphics

Age: Proterozoic (1600 - 2500 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Radium Creek Metamorphics

Description: Schist, psammitic to pelitic, garnet-sericite, quartz-feldspar-mica; gneiss, calc-silicate, quartz-feldspar-mica; amphibolite, calc-silicate, siliceous; marble, calc-silicate; quartzite, orthoquartzite, feldspathic; migmatite

Comments: metamorphic; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Metamorphic

Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia). [5]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

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Crooks, A.F. and Abbot, P.J.(2004). Beryl in South Australia. Report Book 2004/25. PIRSA (Mine Department)
Brown, H.Y.L. (1908). South Australia. Department of Mines and Energy, Record of Mines, p 359.

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