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Type: Journal article
Title: Nature and origin of tuff beds in Jurassic strata of the Surat Basin, Australia: implications on the evolution of the eastern margin of Gondwana during the Mesozoic
Author: Wainman, C.C.
Reynolds, P.
Hall, T.
McCabe, P.J.
Holford, S.P.
Citation: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2019; 377:103-116
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0377-0273
Statement of
Carmine C. Wainman, Peter Reynolds, Tony Hall, Peter J. McCabe, Simon P. Holford
Abstract: Volcanogenic rocks in the Great Australian Superbasin provide one of the principal records of contemporaneous volcanism in eastern Australia during the Mesozoic. However, the paucity of primary Jurassic to Early Cretaceous-age extrusive or intrusive igneous bodies on the Australian continent makes it particularly challenging to deduce their source and character. This, in turn, makes it difficult to ascertain how the eastern margin of Gondwana evolved during this timeframe. Despite some studies of this enigmatic volcanism, there have been little or no detailed analyses of these Jurassic to Early Cretaceous-aged sediments. Based on the multidisciplinary analyses of age-constrained air-fall tuffs (168 to 148 Ma) from the Jurassic Walloon Coal Measures of the Surat Basin, we suggest from zircon grains of a similar age that the tuffs were erupted from volcanoes fed by intermediate to felsic magmas supported by their quartz and feldspars-rich composition, and from zircon grains with low to moderate Nb values (0.5 to 100 ppm) and high U and Th values (30 to 1000 ppm). The mapping of tuff isopachs and a mean zircon crystal size of 170 μm supports the source being from volcanoes approximately 280 to 1000 km from the palaeoeast-southeast with a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of 8. Our results indicate the tuffs originated from a continental arc setting associated with the Whitsunday Igneous Association, and the long-lived (late Palaeozoic to Cretaceous) westward subduction of the palaeo-Pacific oceanic crust beneath eastern Australia. Such a tectono-magmatic environment would help constrain the timing of the transition of eastern Gondwana from a convergent to a divergent margin.
Keywords: Air-fall volcanic ash; volcanogenic rocks; Jurassic; Surat Basin; subduction; Whitsunday Igneous Association
Rights: © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.03.012
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Australian School of Petroleum publications

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