Banded Iron Formations to Iron Ore: An Integrated Genesis Model


Desmond Fitzgerald Lascelles
University of Western Australia, Australia

Series: Geology and Mineralogy Research Developments
BISAC: SCI048000



From the first attempts to understand the origin of giant iron ore deposits, numerous false assumptions have been used as the basis of genesis models that have become standard and unquestioned, with later research generally seeking to find evidence supporting the existing models and ignoring contrary evidence. Many models were constructed based on extremely rare features, and their absence in the global abundance of iron formations was not considered important since there was no understanding of the major sedimentary structures, i.e. laminations and banding. Inconsistencies within the hypothetical models are either ignored or excused by proposing special circumstances, but no one considers that the models might be wrong or have only limited application.

Many hypotheses regarding Earth’s history have been postulated from the difference between Phanerozoic and Precambrian iron-formations. In particular, the development of an oxygenated atmosphere has been deduced from the supposed evolution of iron-formations. The subject has provided a fertile field for research and models of Earth’s history, but without clear knowledge of the sedimentation, diagenesis and metamorphism of BIFs (branded iron formations), such models are speculative or even irrelevant. Since these models on the genesis and distribution of BIF were used as proxies to answer questions regarding the composition of the early oceans and atmosphere, weathering and transport conditions on early land surface, volcanism and continental development in the Archean eon, and as they affect exploration for the largest volume and most basic of industrial metals, they have an importance beyond academic sedimentary and stratigraphic interest.

The aim of this book is to present a model for the origin of BIFs and derived high-grade iron ore deposits with global applications that are still subject to correction and change as new information becomes available and are free of illogical assumptions which do not conflict with either field observations or basic chemistry and physics.

Additional information