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Project Acronym: BARB | State: Completed | Expedition ID: 5047

ins.: 2011-07-19 00:00; ( Age: 13 yrs )
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Category: Barberton_

Barberton: 2011-07-19

After multiple delays due initially to problems in obtaining authorization ...
Note the frosty early morning mist over the Komati River and our frosty camp, by midday its steaming.

After multiple delays due initially to problems in obtaining authorization to drill from the South Africa Department of Mineral Resources, then, in the past two weeks, to conflicting territorial claims and protests by striking metal workers, our drilling finally got underway at 17:15 on Friday 15th July. In three working days we have obtained more than 120 m of core and completed the first hole, BARB1, at Tuesday midday. BARB1 intersected the 'tumulus' structure, an unusual komatiite flow in the Komati Formation at the Tjakastad site and several overlying komatiite flows. Preliminary logging has revealed wide variations in texture and composition in the lower part of the unit structures that were unsuspected in view of the relatively uniform olivine adcumulate rocks exposed at the surface. Present in the core, in addition to beautiful olivine adcumulates, are spectacular 'harrisitic' textures composed of enormous, highly skeletal olivine grains, a thick interval of olivine and pyroxene spinifex, an interval of highly amygdaloidal lava, and a totally unexpected zone of ultramafic hyaloclastite. The 'tumulus' unit is overlain by a series of thin, differentiated olivine spinifex komatiites. The rig on the Tjakastad site move on Tuesday night to BARB2 where we will drill a sequence of more normal flows of komatiite and komatiitic basalt. A second rig is expected to arrive later in the week and it will start drilling hole BARB3 either on the Middle Fig Tree site or on Buck Reef. The entire operation is supervised by our drilling manager, Gordon Chunnett, and his assistant Masi (his blog on our South African web site gives a detailed account of the events of the past week). Nick Arndt and Gary Byerly are site scientists for holes BARB 1 and 2; Mike Tice, Don Lowe, Christoph Heubeck and Axel Hofmann will supervise BARB3. Special thanks for assistance during the first stage of drilling are due to Prince Cambridge Dlamini, Elijah Lechela, Julius Mathebula, Fred Daniel, Richard Spoor and John Allen.