Provenance of late Paleoproterozoic cover sequences in the central gawler craton

exploring stratigraphic correlations in eastern Proterozoic Australia using detrital zircon ages, Hf and Nd isotopic data

K. E. Howard, M. Hand, K. M. Barovich, E. Belousova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Provenance data from Paleoproterozoic and possible Archean sedimentary units in the central eastern Gawler Craton in southern Australia form part of a growing dataset suggesting that the Gawler Craton shares important basin formation and tectonic time lines with the adjacent Curnamona Province and the Isan Inlier in northern Australia. U-Pb dating of detrital zircons from the Eba Formation, previously mapped as the Paleoproterozoic Tarcoola Formation, yields exclusively Archean ages (ca 3300-2530 Ma), which are consistent with evolved whole-rock Nd and zircon Hf isotopic data. The absence of Paleoproterozoic detrital grains in a number of sequences (including the Eba Formation), despite the proximity of voluminous Paleoproterozoic rock units, suggests that the Eba Formation may be part of a Neoarchean or early Paleoproterozoic cover sequence derived from erosion of a multi-aged Archean source region. The ca 1715 Ma Labyrinth Formation, unconformably overlying the Eba Formation, shares similar depositional timing with other basin systems in the Gawler Craton and the adjacent Curnamona Province. Detrital zircon ages in the Labyrinth Formation range from Neoarchean to Paleoproterozoic, and are consistent with derivation from > 41715 Ma components of the Gawler Craton. Zircon Hf and whole-rock Nd isotopic data also suggest a source region with a mixed crustal evolution (eNd -6 to -4.5), consistent with what is known about the Gawler Craton. Compared with the lower Willyama Supergroup in the adjacent Curnamona Province, the Labyrinth Formation has a source more obviously reconcilable with the Gawler Craton. Stratigraphically overlying the Eba and Labyrinth Formations is the 1656 Ma Tarcoola Formation. Zircon Hf and whole-rock Nd isotopic data indicate that the Tarcoola Formation was sourced from comparatively juvenile rocks (e{open}Nd -4.1 to+0.5). The timing of Tarcoola Formation deposition is similar to the juvenile upper Willyama Supergroup, further strengthening the stratigraphic links between the Gawler and Curnamona domains. Additionally, the Tarcoola Formation is similar in age to extensive units in the Mt Isa and Georgetown regions in northern Australia, also shown to be isotopically juvenile. These juvenile sedimentary rocks contrast with the evolved underlying sequences and hint at the existence of a large-scale ca 1650 Ma juvenile basin system in eastern Proterozoic Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-500
Number of pages26
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume58
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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