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Type: Journal article
Title: Sm-Nd evidence for high grade Ordovician metamorphism in the Arunta Block, Central Australia
Author: Mawby, J.
Hand, M.
Foden, J.
Citation: Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 1999; 17(6):653-668
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
Issue Date: 1999
ISSN: 0263-4929
Abstract: Sm–Nd ages from the Harts Range in the south-eastern Arunta Inlier in central Australia indicate that regional metamorphism up to granulite facies occurred in the Early Ordovician (c. 475 Ma). This represents a radical departure from previous tectonic models for the region and identifies a previously unrecognized intraplate event in central Australia. Peak metamorphic assemblages (800 °C and 10.5 kbar) formed at around 476±14 Ma and underwent approximately 4 kbar of near-isothermal decompression at 475±4 Ma. A coarse-grained unfoliated garnet–clinopyroxene-bearing marble inferred to have recrystallized late in the decompressional evolution, gives an age of 469±7 Ma. Two lines of evidence suggest the Early Ordovician tectonism occurred in an extensional setting. First, the timing of the high-grade lower crustal deformation coincides with a period of marine sedimentation in the Amadeus and Georgina basins that was associated with a seaway that developed across central Australia. Second, isothermal decompression of lower crustal rocks was associated with the formation of a regional, sub-horizontal mid-crustal foliation. In the Entia Gneiss Complex, which forms the structurally lowest part of the Harts Range, upper-amphibolite facies metamorphism (c. 700 °C, 8–9 kbar) occurred at 479±15 Ma. There is no evidence that P–T conditions in the Entia Gneiss Complex were as high as in the overlying units. This implies that the extensional system was reworked during a later compressional event. Sm–Nd data from the mid-amphibolite facies (c. 650 °C and 6 kbar) detachment zone that separates the Irindina Supracrustal Assemblage and Entia Gneiss Complex give an age of 449±10 Ma. This age corresponds to the timing of a change in the pattern and style of sedimentation in the Amadeus and Georgina basins, and indicates that the change in basin dynamics was associated with mid-crustal deformation. It also suggests that compressional deformation culminating in the Devonian to Carboniferous (400–300 Ma) Alice Springs Orogeny may have begun as early as c. 450 Ma. At present, the extent of Early Ordovician tectonism in central Australia is unknown. However, granulite facies metamorphism and associated intense deformation imply an event of regional extent. An implication of this work is that high-grade lower crustal metamorphism and intense deformation occurred during the development of a broad, shallow, slowly subsiding intraplate basin.
Keywords: Arunta Inlier; extension; granulite; intraplate deformation; Sm–Nd dating
Description: Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Rights: Copyright © 1999-2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
RMID: 0030003579
DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1314.1999.00224.x
Appears in Collections:Geology & Geophysics publications
Environment Institute publications

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