Fingerprinting Proterozoic bedrock in interior Wilkes Land, East Antarctica

Alessandro Maritati*, Jacqueline A. Halpin, Joanne M. Whittaker, Nathan R. Daczko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Wilkes Land in East Antarctica remains one of the last geological exploration frontiers on Earth. Hidden beneath kilometres of ice, its bedrock preserves a poorly-understood tectonic history that mirrors that of southern Australia and holds critical insights into past supercontinent cycles. Here, we use new and recently published Australian and Antarctic geological and geophysical data to present a novel interpretation of the age and character of crystalline basement and sedimentary cover of interior Wilkes Land. We combine new zircon U–Pb and Hf isotopic data from remote Antarctic outcrops with aeromagnetic data observations from the conjugate Australian-Antarctic margins to identify two new Antarctic Mesoproterozoic basement provinces corresponding to the continuation of the Coompana and Madura provinces of southern Australia into Wilkes Land. Using both detrital zircon U–Pb–Hf and authigenic monazite U–Th–Pb isotopic data from glacial erratic sandstone samples, we identify the presence of Neoproterozoic sedimentary rocks covering Mesoproterozoic basement. Together, these new geological insights into the ice-covered bedrock of Wilkes Land substantially improve correlations of Antarctic and Australian geological elements and provide key constraints on the tectonic architecture of this sector of the East Antarctic Shield and its role in supercontinent reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10192
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019


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