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Collisional accretion of a Late Ordovician oceanic island arc, northern Tasman Orogenic Zone, Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 09:34 authored by Henderson, RA, Innes, BM, Fergusson, CL, Anthony CrawfordAnthony Crawford, Withnall, IW
A distinctive Late Ordovician volcano-sedimentary terrane, embracing the Carriers Well Formation and Everetts Creek Volcanics and dismembered slivers now structurally intercalated in the adjoining Wairuna Formation, is located within the Broken River Province of the northern Tasmanides. It abuts a basement of mafic–ultramafic rocks (Gray Creek Complex) and overlying Early Ordovician deep marine sedimentary and volcanic strata (Judea Formation) which host tonalitic plutons. The terrane lies at the western, inboard-margin of the Camel Creek Subprovince, a broad tract of multiply deformed mid-Paleozoic turbidites with minor basalt and chert variously interpreted as the infill of a backarc basin or an accretionary wedge. U–Pb dates from detrital zircon indicate a maximum Late Silurian age for siliciclastic rocks from the previously undated Wairuna Formation. Geochemistry of volcanic rocks from the volcano-sedimentary terrane show them to be largely of mafic to intermediate compositions of calc-alkaline affinity, comparable with broadly coeval Macquarie Arc volcanic suites of the southern Tasmanides. Trace-element systematics identify a subduction relationship for the volcanic suite and V/Ti employed as a discrimination tool identifies the terrane as representing an oceanic island arc, consistent with its sedimentary facies which include volcaniclastic mass flow deposits, limestone, and radiolarian chert. Continent-derived sandstone in the sedimentary assemblage, confirmed by the ages of detrital zircon from a sandstone sample from the Carriers Well Formation, indicates that the oceanic island arc developed proximal to the Late Ordovician continental margin of East Gondwana. Its nature and location bear on the tectonic setting of the entire Camel Creek Subprovince, for which interpretation as an Early Silurian–Early Devonian accretionary wedge is favoured. Collision of the island arc with the continental margin, and associated deformation of part the intervening oceanic crustal tract, now represented by the Gray Creek Complex and its sedimentary cover (Judea Formation) registers the initiation of subduction accretion in late Early Silurian (Llandoverian) time. It marks earlystage orogenesis in the Broken River Province, accurately timed by stratigraphic relationships in the basinal succession developed in the Graveyard Creek Subprovince immediately to the west of the arc assemblage. Tectonism was regionally developed in north Queensland at this time, coeval with the Benambran Orogeny of the Lachlan Orogen in which the Macquarie Arc was likewise accreted to the East Gondwana margin. Benambran orogenesis marks a general phase of shortening, and removal by subduction, of oceanic crust and inversion of continent-derived overlying sedimentary cover along the East Gondwana margin.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Earth Sciences








School of Natural Sciences


Taylor & Francis Ltd

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Level 2, 11 Queens Rd, Melbourne, Victoria. 3004

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Copyright 2011 Geological Society of Australia.

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