The great economic significance of layered mafic-ultramafic intrusions like the Bushveld Complex of South Africa results from the existence within them of some layers highly concentrated in valuable elements. Here we address the origins of the Main Magnetite Layer, a globally important resource of Fe-Ti-V-rich magnetite. Previous models of in situ fractional magnetite crystallization require frequent ad hoc adjustments to the boundary conditions. An alternative model of rapid deposition of loose piles of magnetite crystals followed by compositional convection near the top of the pile and infiltration of the pile from beneath by migrating intercumulus melt fits observations without any adjustments. The data admit both explanations, but the latter model, with the fewest unconstrained interventions, is preferable. The choice of models has pivotal ramifications for understanding of the fundamental processes by which crystals accumulate and layers form in layered intrusions.