Publication Details

Fergusson, C. L., Nutman, A. P., Kamiichi, T. & Hidaka, H. (2013). Evolution of a Cambrian active continental margin: the Delamerian-Lachlan connection in southeastern Australia from a zircon perspective. Gondwana Research, 24 (3-4), 1051-1066.


The Early Palaeozoic Ross–Delamerian orogenic belt is considered to have formed as an active margin facing the palaeo-Pacific Ocean with some island arc collisions, as in Tasmania (Australia) and Northern Victoria Land (Antarctica), followed by terminal deformation and cessation of active convergence. On the Cambrian eastern margin of Australia adjacent to the Delamerian Fold Belt, island arc and backarc basin crust was formed and is now preserved in the Lachlan Fold Belt and is consistent with a spatial link between the Delamerian and Lachlan orogens. The Delamerian–Lachlan connection is tested with new zircon data. Metamorphic zircons from a basic eclogite sample from the Franklin Metamorphic Complex in the Tyennan region of central Tasmania have rare earth element signatures showing that eclogite metamorphism occurred at ~ 510 Ma, consistent with island arc–passive margin collision during the Delamerian(− Tyennan) Orogeny. U–Pb ages of detrital zircons have been determined from two samples of Ordovician sandstones in the Lachlan Fold Belt at Melville Point (south coast of New South Wales) and the Howqua River (western Tabberabbera Zone of eastern Victoria). These rocks were chosen because they are the first major clastic influx at the base of the Ordovician ‘Bengal-fan’ scale turbidite pile. The samples show the same prominent peaks as previously found elsewhere (600–500 Ma Pacific-Gondwana and the 1300–1000 Ma Grenville–Gondwana signatures) reflecting supercontinent formation. We highlight the presence of ~ 500 Ma non-rounded, simple zircons indicating clastic input most likely from igneous rocks formed during the Delamerian and Ross Orogenies. We consider that the most probable source of the Ordovician turbidites was in East Antarctica adjacent to the Ross Orogen rather than reflecting long distance transport from the Transgondwanan Supermountain (i.e. East African Orogen). Together with other provenance indicators such as detrital mica ages, this is a confirmation of the Delamerian–Lachlan connection.



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