[Bushveld] The Bushveld Complex Drilling Project "BVDP"

Climate & Ecosystems

Year of Application: 2019

Expedition ID: 99999

Current Status: Drilling Preparation

Deep Biosphere
Layered Intrusions
Ore Formation
South Africa
igneous intrusion
ore deposits
Master Data

Dr. Robert Trumbull (First-PI)

Prof. Dr. Francois Holtz (PI)
Dr. Jens Kallmeyer (PI)
Dr. Lutz Hecht (PI)

Dr. Ulrich Harms (OSG)
Dr. Oliver Namur (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Harald Strauß (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Dirk Wagner (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Jens Gutzmer (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Kathrin Faak (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Malte Junge (Workshop Participant)

Geologisches Alter: paleoproterozoic

Latitude: 24°0'0''S


Regionen & Städte:


Longitude: 28°0'0''E

South Africa


hard rock

Drilling Data

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With on the order of 1 million km3 of igneous rocks, the Bushveld Complex by itself constitutes a Large Igneous Province. Its size alone poses first-order questions about how such vast volumes of magma are generated from the mantle. However, apart from its size, the Bushveld has several other features that make it remarkable. 1) Unlike most Large Igneous Provinces, the Bushveld Complex is largely plutonic and represents the roots of such systems. It is the world's largest preserved igneous intrusion and presents a unique record of magma chamber processes on a truly grand scale. 2) The Bushveld Complex is bimodal in composition, with subequal proportions of mafic and felsic igneous rocks. This compositional diversity provides an opportunity to study relationships between mantle and crustal sources of magmatism in detail. 3) The Bushveld Complex contains fabulous mineral wealth, with resources of strategic and high-tech metals that are vital for both the South African and the global economies. Most important are the platinum-group elements, with on the order of 70% of world reserves, but there is very large production of Cu and Ni, Chrome, Vanadium, Fluorspar, Tin and dimension stone. The opportunity for cooperation with the mining industry can be of great mutual benefit. An ICDP project on the Bushveld Complex will focus and coordinate efforts of the international community to solve major outstanding questions relating to large-scale melting of Earth's mantle, to magma chamber processes including the concentration of ore metals, and to the impact of mass and heat flux by magmas and related fluids into the shallow crust, the surface and the atmosphere. The Bushveld Scientific Drilling project will advance the following ICDP science themes: 1) Large igneous provinces and mantle plumes, 2) Natural resources, and 3) Volcanic systems and thermal regimes. An ICDP project can play a major role in capacity building, it can lay the foundations for a curated, internationally-available reference collection of Bushveld material for future research, teaching and for public outreach as a geologic heritage site. This contribution will be of lasting value to the international community.

Related Publications

Junge, Malte, Oberthür, Thomas, Kraemer, Dennis, Melcher, Frank, Piña, Ruben, Derrey, Insa T., Manyeruke, Tawanda, Strauss, Harald (2019). "Distribution of platinum-group elements in pristine and near-surface oxidized Platreef ore and the variation along strike, northern Bushveld Complex, South Africa" Mineralium Deposita 54 p885-912

Trumbull, R. B., Ashwal, L. D., Webb, S. J., Veksler, I. V. (2015). "Drilling through the largest magma chamber on Earth: Bushveld Igneous Complex Drilling Project (BICDP)" Sci. Dril. 19 p33-37