Tectonic cycles of the New England Orogen, eastern Australia: a review

K. Jessop*, N. R. Daczko, S. Piazolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The New England Orogen (NEO), the youngest of the orogens of the Tasmanides of eastern Australia, is defined by two main cycles of compression–extension. The compression component involves thrust tectonics and advance of the arc towards the continental plate, while extension is characterised by rifting, basin formation, thermal relaxation and retreat of the arc towards the oceanic plate. A compilation of 623 records of U–Pb zircon geochronology rock ages from Geoscience Australia, the geological surveys of Queensland and New South Wales and other published research throughout the orogen, has helped to clarify its complex tectonic history. This contribution focuses on the entire NEO and is aimed at those who are unfamiliar with the details of the orogen and who could benefit from a summary of current knowledge. It aims to fill a gap in recent literature between broad-scale overviews of the orogen incorporated as part of wider research on the Tasmanides and detailed studies usually specific to either the northern or southern parts of the orogen. Within the two main cycles of compression–extension, six accepted and distinct tectonic phases are defined and reviewed. Maps of geological processes active during each phase reveal the centres of activity during each tectonic phase, and the range in U–Pb zircon ages highlights the degree of diachronicity along the length of the NEO. In addition, remnants of the early Permian offshore arc formed during extensive slab rollback, are identified by the available geochronology. Estimates of the beginning of the Hunter-Bowen phase of compression, generally thought to commence around 265 Ma are complicated by the presence of extensional-type magmatism in eastern Queensland that occurred between 270 and 260 Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-496
Number of pages38
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019


  • Tectonic cycles
  • zircon U–Pb geochronology
  • New England Orogen
  • slab rollback
  • extension
  • GIS maps


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