Late Paleozoic geology of the Queensland Plateau (offshore northeastern Australia)

U. Shaanan, G. Rosenbaum, D. Hoy, N. Mortimer
2018 Australian Journal of Earth Sciences  
The southwestern Pacific region consists of segmented and translated continental fragments of the Gondwanan margin. Tectonic reconstructions of this region are challenged by the fact that many fragmented continental blocks are submerged and/or concealed under younger sedimentary cover. The Queensland Plateau (offshore northeastern Australia) is one such submerged continental block. We present detrital zircon geochronological and morphological data, complemented by petrographic observations,
more » ... samples obtained from the only two drill cores that penetrated the Paleozoic metasedimentary strata of the Queensland Plateau (Ocean Drilling Program leg 133, sites 824 and 825). Results provide maximum age constraints of 319.4 § 3.5 and 298.9 § 2.5 Ma for the time of deposition, which in conjunction with evidence for deformation, indicate that the metasedimentary successions are most likely upper Carboniferous to lower Permian. A comparison of our results with a larger dataset of detrital zircon ages from the Tasmanides suggests that the Paleozoic successions of the Queensland Plateau formed in a backarc basin that was part of the northern continuation of the New England Orogen and/or the East Australian Rift System. However, unlike most of the New England Orogen, a distinctive component of the detrital zircon age spectra of the Mossman Orogen is also recognised, suggesting the existence of a late Paleozoic drainage system that crossed the northern Tasmanides en route from the North Australian Craton. A distinctive shift from abraded zircon grains to grains with well-preserved morphology at ca 305 Ma reflects a direct drainage of firstcycle sediments, most likely from an outboard arc and/or backarc magmatism.
doi:10.1080/08120099.2018.1426041 fatcat:2ggvate45fenpdsa6kyn5r44su