U-Pb, Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd isotopic constraints on provenance and depositional timing of metasedimentary rocks in the western Gawler Craton

Implications for Proterozoic reconstruction models

Katherine E. Howard*, Martin Hand, Karin M. Barovich, Justin L. Payne, Elena A. Belousova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)


The Gawler Craton forms the bulk of the South Australian Craton and occupies a pivotal location that links rock systems in Antarctica to those in northern Australia. The western Gawler Craton is a virtually unexposed region where the timing of basin development and metamorphism is largely unknown, making the region ambiguous in the context of models seeking to reconstruct the Australian Proterozoic. Detrital zircon data from metasedimentary rocks in the central Fowler Domain in the western Gawler Craton provide maximum depositional ages between 1760 and 1700Ma, with rare older detrital components ranging in age up to 3130Ma. In the bulk of samples, e{open}Nd(1700Ma) values range between -4.3 and -3.8. The combination of these data suggest on average, comparatively evolved but age-restricted source regions. Lu-Hf isotopic data from the ca 1700Ma aged zircons provide a wide range of values (e{open}Hf(1700Ma) +6 to -6). Monazite U-Pb data from granulite-grade metasedimentary rocks yield metamorphic ages of 1690-1670Ma. This range overlaps with and extends the timing of the widespread Kimban Orogeny in the Gawler Craton, and provides minimum depositional age constraints, indicating that basin development immediately preceded medium to high grade metamorphism. The timing of Paleoproterozoic basin development and metamorphism in the western Gawler Craton coincides with that in the northern and eastern Gawler Craton, and also in the adjacent Curnamona Province, suggesting protoliths to the rocks within the Fowler Domain may have originally formed part of a large ca 1760-1700. Ma basin system in the southern Australian Proterozoic. Provenance characteristics between these basins are remarkably similar and point to the Arunta Region in the North Australian Craton as a potential source. In this context there is little support for tectonic reconstruction models that: (1) suggest components of the Gawler Craton accreted together at different stages in the interval ca 1760-1680. Ma; and (2) that the North Australian Craton and the southern Australian Proterozoic were separate continental fragments between 1760 and 1700. Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalPrecambrian Research
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

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