​Structural Geology and Tectonics

Research is mainly field based and revolves around two broad themes, including (1) the geology of mid-crustal, high-grade terrains and associated partial melting and granite plutonism, and (2) the controls of deformation on hydrothermal fluid flow, with applications in economic geology and lode-gold mineralisation, in particular.

The first theme focuses on the interplay between regional deformation and the transport and/or emplacement of granitic melts in the continental crust. This also includes the assembly and internal structure of granite plutons and the role of granite plutonism in regional tectonics. Recent research has focused on the Pan-African Damara and Saldania Belts, Archaean provinces such as the Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain or the North Atlantic Craton of Greenland and the Mesoproterozoic granulite terrain of Namaqualand. All projects involve post-graduate students at Honours-, MSc- and PhD-level. Projects are partly funded through research organizations such as the NRF, but mostly through industry.

The second research theme focuses on the structural controls of fluid flow in crustal rocks, both on a regional as well as on a more local or mine scale. Past and present projects have focused on shear-zone hosted lode-gold, but also base-metal deposits, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. These projects involve students at Honours-, MSc- and PhD-level and are mainly in collaboration with industry partners. 

contact: Prof Kisters, akisters at sun.ac.za

watch the drone flight video over Donkerhuk Pavement!

  • Thrust fault architecture in the Naukluft Mountains Namibia

The Naukluft Mountains in Namibia are one of the classic examples of a thrust nappe system. The various thrusts that make up the mountain block are particularly well exposed on all sides of the 30km wide mountain block and allow detailed investigation of the evolution of the thrust system. The basal thrust of the nappe complex is marked by a unique rock type called the Sole Dolomite which is fascinating both mineralogical and texturally. We have interpreted the textures in the Sole Dolomite to be the result of repeated cycles of seismic slip along the basal thrust and hence suggest that the Sole Dolomite can provide clues as to the nature of palaeo-earthquake activity during formation of the thrust complex. My work focusses on petrological and textural interpretation of the Sole Dolomite and related fault rocks in the Naukluft Nappe Complex. The work is conducted in collaboration with Dr Christie Rowe at McGill University in Canada and Prof Benjamin Mapani at the University of Namibia.

contact: Dr Jodie Miller, jmiller at sun.ac.za