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Type: Journal article
Title: A possible early age for a diprotodon (Marsupialia : Diprotodontidae) fossil from the Papua New Guinea highlands
Author: Menzies, J.
Davies, H.
Dunlap, W.
Golding, S.
Citation: Alcheringa: an Australian journal of palaeontology, 2008; 32(2):129-147
Publisher: Geological Society Australia Inc
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 0311-5518
Statement of
J. Menzies, H.L. Davies, W.J. Dunlap and S.D. Golding
Abstract: A fossil diprotodon jawbone coated and impregnated with a well-cemented fine breccia or tuff was recovered from weakly consolidated Pleistocene lacustrine sediments near Yonki in the Papua New Guinea highlands. The fine breccia includes angular rock and mineral fragments derived from country rock, accretionary lapilli and clay minerals. It does not include any identifiable primary volcanic material. The presence of accretionary lapilli and lack of volcanic clasts suggests an origin by phreatic eruption—an explosive eruption driven by the violent escape of gas. Minerals in the fine breccia have an age of 13.2+0.2 Ma, middle Miocene, as indicated by 40Ar/39Ar analysis. This is the age of the country rock that was blasted by the phreatic eruption. Igneous activity in the Yonki area is thought to have ceased at 7.4Ma (younger age limit of Elandora Porphyry; late Miocene), and so it is likely, but not certain, that the phreatic eruption occurred not later than 7.4 Ma. The jawbone, as far as can be told from its poor condition, is dentally similar to the late Pliocene and possibly Pleistocene ‘Kolopsis’ watutense recovered from other sites in New Guinea. Probably, the jawbone, or the living marsupial, was buried in the fine breccia at the time of the phreatic eruption, and its remains were subsequently reworked by river erosion and redeposited in the lacustrine sediments. Recrystallization and loss of primary texture in some of the bone may be a result of heating at the time of, or preceding, the eruption.
Keywords: Miocene
New Guinea
radiometric dating
Description: Copyright © 2008 Association of Australasian Palaeontologists
DOI: 10.1080/03115510801921895
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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