University Of Tasmania
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Mafic volcanic rocks on King Island, Tasmania: evidence for 579 Ma break-up in east Gondwana

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The eastern coast of King Island in southeastern Australia exposes a thick, well-preserved sequence of latest Neoproterozoic volcanic, and related shallow intrusive rocks. These rocks are associated with shallow marine carbonates and siltstones and pass up into massive conglomerates representing a marine flooding event and unconformity, during continental break-up and subsequent volcanic passive margin formation. Unusual differentiated sills (Grimes Intrusive suite) with extreme internal variation (wehrlite to andesite compositions) intrude deformed Proterozoic metasediments of the Rodinian basement. A thin, basal tholeiitic basaltic volcanic unit (City of Melbourne Volcanics) is less contaminated than the underlying sills, and preceded eruption of a thick sequence of highly depleted picritic pillows, sub-aerial flows and hyaloclastites (Shower Droplet Volcanics). The picrite sequence is overlain by thick tholeiitic basalts and reworked volcanogenic conglomerates (Bold Head Formation) that show a strong compositional similarity to enriched mid ocean ridge basalts. Both the picrites and the upper tholeiitic basalts are not crustally contaminated and have an Nd-Sm isochron age of 579 ± 16 Ma with initial εNd of +4.2. The lithostratigraphy and range of compositions represented are analogous to early magmatism associated with continental break-up and volcanic passive margin formation, including voluminous Seaward Dipping Reflector Sequences, in the Mesozoic North Atlantic volcanic margins. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Publication title

Precambrian Research








School of Natural Sciences


Elsevier Science BV

Place of publication

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

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