Publication Details

Zhang, Q., Nutman, A., Buckman, S. & Bennett, V. (2020). What is underneath the juvenile Ordovician Macquarie Arc (eastern Australia)? A question resolved using Silurian intrusions to sample the lower crust. Gondwana Research, 81 362-377.


2020 International Association for Gondwana Research The Ordovician intra-oceanic Macquarie Arc of eastern Australia collided with the eastern Gondwanan margin at ~440 Ma. However, the deep crustal architecture resulting from this assembly is poorly known. This is addressed here by a zircon U-Pb-Hf study of the post-assembly Silurian Browns Creek Intrusive Complex and Davies Creek Granite dykes that intrude into the arc, and not adjacent Gondwanan sedimentary sequences. Zircon U[sbnd]Pb dating integrated with CL imagery indicate two igneous phases at 430-437 Ma and 420-426 Ma and a zircon recrystallisation phase at 395-396 Ma attributed to a late thermal event. The magmatic zircon initial ɛHf values vary from −5.1 to +4.7. This signature indicates the source of these granitic rocks is strongly influenced by typical pre-Silurian Gondwanan material. Granitic rock and zircon compositions demonstrate that at the likely temperature of the Silurian granitic magma, especially the Davies Creek Granite dykes, inherited source zircons were mostly dissolved, explaining the absence of pre-Ordovician xenocrysts within the zircon population. The unradiogenic Hf isotopic signatures preserved in the Silurian magmatic zircons demonstrate the contribution of Gondwanan crustal material to the magma source region. These results support the interpretation of the Macquarie Arc as an intra-Panthalassa ocean allochthon, emplaced and resting over the edge of Gondwanan crystalline basement, possibly including the continent-derived sedimentary rocks of the Adaminaby Group.

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