Exotic island arc Paleozoic terranes on the eastern margin of Gondwana: Geochemical whole rock and zircon U-Pb-Hf isotope evidence from Barry Station, New South Wales, Australia
Early Paleozoic intra-oceanic terranes crop out along the Peel-Manning Fault System, in the southern New England Orogen, NSW Australia. These are the Cambrian ophiolitic Weraerai terrane and the Siluro-Devonian island arc Gamilaroi terrane. There has been debate whether these terranes formed at the Gondwana margin or if they are intra-oceanic, and were accreted to Gondwana later in the Paleozoic. Major-trace-REE elemental data indicate Weraerai terrane formed in a supra-subduction environment. Rare zircons extracted from Weraerai terrane gabbro-plagiogranite suites at Barry Station yield a U-Pb zircon date of 504.9 ± 3.5 Ma with initial εHf values of + 11.1 indicating a juvenile source. Amphibole-bearing felsic dykes and net-vein complexes are also found within the gabbro with a U-Pb zircon date of 503.2 ± 5.7 Ma and initial εHf values of + 11.6. These are coeval in age with their host rocks and we propose they represent partial melts of the mafic crust during the circulation of seawater. The Gamilaroi trondhjemites of prehnite-pumpellyite-greenschist metamorphic grade terrane yielded very few zircons with an age of 413 ± 8.7 Ma. Zircon initial εHf values range from + 5.0 to + 2.9, indicating an input from an evolved crustal source, unlike the purely oceanic Weraerai terrane. Gamilaroi terrane trondhjemites are enriched in LREE have low K2O and K2O/Na2O ratios and strong negative Nb anomalies consistent with supra-subduction zone environments. Multiple subduction zones may well have existed within the Panthalassa Ocean during the early-mid Paleozoic with the Weraerai-Gamilaroi being accreted onto the Gondwanan margin during the latest Devonian.