Granite provinces and basement terranes in the Lachlan Fold Belt, southeastern Australia

B. W. Chappell, A. J R White, R. Hine

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    Many granites have compositional features that directly reflect the composition of their source rocks. Since most granites come from the deeper parts of the Earth's crust, their study provides information about the nature of parts of that deep crust. Granites and related volcanic rocks are abundant and widely distributed in the Palaeozoic Lachlan Fold Belt of southeastern Australia. These granites show patterns of regional variation in which sharp discontinuities occur between provinces which internally are of a rather constant character. Such a discontinuity has long been recognized at the I-S line and the extent of that line can now be defined more fully. Breaks of this type are thought to correspond to sharp changes in the composition of the deep crust that correspond to unexposed or basement terranes. Nine such basement terranes can be recognized in the Lachlan Fold Belt. The character of these basement terranes appears to be different from that of the terranes recognized in the Mesozoic-Cainozoic Cordilleran fold belt, in which the plates accreted during the period of tectonism reflected in the exposed surface rocks. In the Lachlan Fold Belt, it is postulated that fragments of continental crust, or microplates, were assembled in the Late Proterozoic or Early Palaeozoic to form the substrate of the presently exposed Palaeozoic sedimentary rocks; the compositional features of these fragments were later redistributed vertically by magmatic processes. The identification of basement terranes of this type shows that models which involve the lateral growth of the Lachlan Fold Belt during the Palaeozoic, in a manner analogous to the accretion of younger belts, are untenable. These basement terranes have implications for mineral exploration because the content of heavy metals can vary from one to another and this would ultimately affect the probability of concentrating these metals to form a mineral deposit.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)505-521
    Number of pages17
    JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1988


    • Basement terrane
    • Deep crust
    • Granite
    • I-rype
    • Lachlan Fold Belt
    • Province
    • S-type
    • Terrane


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