Crustal evolution in the Georgetown Inlier, North Queensland, Australia: a detrital zircon grain study

Valeria Murgulov*, Eloise Beyer, William L. Griffin, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly, Steven G. Walters, Darren Stephens

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    The use of in situ Hf-isotope analysis of zircon allows a more detailed evaluation of magma-generation processes than the analysis of whole-rock isotopic systems, and is a powerful tool for studying crustal evolution. Detrital zircon grains have been analysed by in situ LAM-ICPMS and LAM-MC-ICPMS for U-Pb ages, trace element patterns and Hf-isotope composition to evaluate patterns of magma genesis and crustal evolution in the central part of the Precambrian Georgetown Inlier, North Queensland, Australia. Archean zircons and low e{open}Hf in Proterozoic and Phanerozoic magmatic zircons provide direct evidence for the existence of Archean crustal components in the Georgetown Inlier, although the surface geology is dominated by Mesoproterozoic basement rocks and Palaeozoic granitoids. Crustal evolution in the Georgetown Inlier has involved at least three stages of heating and granitoid magmatism, possibly associated with basaltic magma underplating and/or overplating (1545-1585 Ma, 420 Ma and 340 Ma). In general, granitoids with high e{open}Hf are typical of the Percyvale area, closest to the Phanerozoic Tasman Fold Belt, and may reflect thinner and younger crust. Granitoids with less radiogenic Hf-isotope compositions are typical of the Einasleigh and Mount Surprise areas in the central part of the Inlier, and may reflect the presence of older and thicker crust. The most significant juvenile additions to the crust after Archean time occurred in the Einasleigh and Mount Surprise areas during Mesoproterozoic time and in the Percyvale area during Carboniferous time. In the Mount Surprise area, resorbed zircon cores of Mesoproterozoic age are overgrown by magmatic rims of Siluro-Devonian age. Similarities in the Hf-isotope composition of core-rim pairs suggest that the large range in e{open}Hf observed in zircons from Siluro-Devonian granitoids reflects remelting of a heterogeneous 1545-1585 Ma old crust, rather than mixing between juvenile and crustal sources. Crustal remelting has been the main process responsible for the production of granitoid magmas in the Georgetown Inlier. However, minor addition of mantle-derived material may have occurred during both Mesoproterozoic and Carboniferous time. Similarities and differences in the crustal evolution of the Mt Isa, Broken Hill and Georgetown blocks suggest that the Proterozoic history of the Australian continental margin involved the accretion and subsequent dispersal of individual, originally Archean, microcontinents.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)198-218
    Number of pages21
    JournalChemical Geology
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2007


    • granitoid magma sources
    • granitoid magma genesis
    • zircon Hf isotopes


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