School of Earth Sciences - Theses
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ItemThe geology and geochemistry of the Agnew Intrusion: implications for the petrogenesis of early Huronian mafic igneous rocks in Central Ontario, CanadaVogel, Derek Christian ( 1996-07)The Early Proterozoic Agnew Intrusion is a well-preserved leucogabbronoritic to gabbronoritic layered intrusion that is a member of the East Bull Lake suite of layered intrusions (ca. 2490-2470 Ma) occurring in central Ontario. These intrusions are related to the development of the Huronian Rift Zone, which may be part of a much more widespread rifting event that involved the Fennoscandian Shield. Structural data suggest that these intrusions have been subjected to ductile deformation and are erosional remnants of one or more sill-like bodies originally emplaced along the contact between Archaean granitic rocks of the Superior Province and an Early Proterozoic Huronian continental flood basalt sequence in the Southern Province.
ItemGeology and tectonothermal history of The Fishery Bay Region, Eyre Peninsula, South AustraliaElliott, Andrew R. ( 1998)The Fishery Bay region, southern Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, consists of Archaean charnockitic and paragneissic sequences of the Sleaford Complex intruded by Palaeoproterozoic granitoids and two generations of mafic dykes. These rocks preserve the deformational and metamorphic effects of the Kimban Orogeny and the later Wartakan Event. Within the Fishery Bay area, five separate ductile deformation events (D1-D5) are recognised, the dominant of which (D2-D3) are associated with granulite facies metamorphism. The effects of the D3 event are pervasive throughout the Fishery Bay region, with D1 and D2 preserved only in regions of low-D3 strain. The overprinting nature or D3 is recognised in the reorientation of D2 structures. The dominant response of the area to D3 strain is a series of westerly-dipping dextral oblique reverse shears with west block-up movement. Much of the strain is localised within the paragneisses and along the margins of mafic dykes recognised in the development of a NNE-trending D3 high-strain zone termed the Cape Wiles Shear Zone. D3 observations from the Fishery Bay region correlate well with previous studies conducted on southern Eyre Peninsula which lead to the inference that D3 west block-up exhumation is responsible for the positive pressure gradient that exists from west to east across the Kalinjala Shear Zone. The pressure-temperature conditions preserved in the mineral assemblages of the paragneiss units and mafic dykes record two granulite facies metamorphic events, M2 and M3. Mineral assemblages associated with M2 and M3 are similar and passage from M2 to M3 did not result in reaction textures which indicates the proximity of the thermal conditions of these two metamorphic events. M2 corresponds to the second deformational event (D2) where peak metamorphic conditions reached pressures of 8.6±3.2 kbar at 750-900°C, The second thermobaric event correlates with the third deformation event (D3) and a metamorphic peak of 4.1±1.9 kbar at 750-850°C. The decompression of the Fishery Bay region during D3/M3 is synchronous with crustal thickening of the terrain east of the area.
ItemAustralian lineament tectonics: with an emphasis on northwestern AustraliaElliott, Catherine I. ( 1994-08)Australia is transected by a network of systematic continental-scale lineaments that are considered to be zones of concentrated, aligned tectonic activity which have apparent continuity over vast distances. The influence of lineaments on the rock record can be identified in many types of data-sets, and existing data reveals previously undescribed basement influences. Several continental-scale lineaments can be traced offshore with apparent continuity for hundreds to thousands of kilometres, two of which are seen to cross the Tasman Sea in offshore eastern Australia. Geological and chronological evidence demonstrates that many of the lineaments have been zones of reactivation since at least the Early Proterozoic (- 1880 Ma) and that they appear to cross major terrane boundaries. Alternative models for their origin are a) a pre-existing lineament network maintained in an ancient basement underlying the entire continent; b) lateral propagation of crustal-scale structures; c) alignment of genetically unrelated lineaments giving the appearance of continuity. Australian deep-seismic profiles show that continental-scale lineaments are zones of crustal-scale structure which in some cases transect the crust-mantle boundary. Lineaments demonstrate many faulting styles, e.g. listric extensional (G3), planar moderate-angle thrusts (G2 l), and sub-vertical thrusts (G 17). In some cases the structural style varies laterally along the length of the lineament. (For complete abstract open document)
ItemThe low-temperature thermochronology of cratonic terranesBelton, David X. ( 2006)Cratonic terranes present many problems for geologists attempting to define those regions of the continental crust that are the core of today's continents. Inherent in the term is the great passage of time, and typically, the term defines consolidated Archaean or Proterozoic crust (Park and Jaroszewski, 1994). Cratons are further distinguished on the basis of tectonic activity. Marshak and his colleagues (1999) suggest that the lack of penetrative deformation or metamorphism is a useful definition but they further narrow this with the restriction of a Precambrian timeframe. Central to either view is the assumption of stability and perhaps senescence. And, since many aspects of geological research involve the detection of stratigraphic, structural or mineralogical change, stability implies a lack, or at least a minimum, of change. Thus the absence of these traditional markers of geological evolution or change, related to these processes, presents significant challenges in the study of cratons. This is particularly so in shield areas - those cratons with exposed basement rocks (Park and Jaroszewski, 1994). The extraordinary age of shield rocks and their apparent preservation at the surface, has encouraged research into the mechanics of landscape development and the individual evolution of landforms in the landscape, particularly by geomorphologists. From within this environment many thought provoking ideas have been proposed to explain the breadth of observations pertaining to almost every aspect of landscape process in these terranes. According to Summerfield (1991) the models of Davis, Penck, King and Budel have had the most impact in this field. The ideas presented by these workers remain a cornerstone in our understanding of the earth's surface, but in detail and in practice, the models have been shown to be antiquated. Nevertheless, landform evolution models such as those of L.C. King (1967) have held sway in southern Africa and elsewhere long after the underlying assumptions have been shown to lack validity. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate key aspects of landscape evolution in two regions, central Australia and southern Africa, where models have been espoused, arguing for extraordinary surface stability or alternatively a simple erosional history or pediplanation. Contemporary thermochronological techniques now permit us to investigate these regions in previously unavailable detail. The primary technique used in this work was apatite fission track analysis and an introduction to the fundamentals of the method is given in Chapter 1. The theoretical and practical aspects of the fission track method provided the basis for an innovative approach presented in Chapter 2. TASC is a scheme for analysing the raw fission track data so as to extract additional information about the rock's thermal history prior to undertaking traditional inverse modelling techniques. This method (recently described by the author in Ehlers et al., 2005) proved to be a powerful complement to the routine fission track analysis undertaken as part of the Australian and African case studies. Although first proposed for geological use in the 1960's, the fission track technique really only gained serious application with a number of technical and theoretical breakthroughs in the 1980's. Since then, growing understanding of the processes of annealing and how they might be modelled has allowed the technique continue developing. Chapter 3 is a discussion of this topic that expands on material previously published by the author and colleagues (Gleadow et al., 2002) and presents additional new work. Nevertheless, despite it's wide application in tectonic and basin studies amongst others, there remain many improvements to be made and problems to be solved. As part of this project, research into several areas presented the author with opportunities to contribute toward improvement in the apatite fission track technique, that have the potential to aid the study of cratonic terranes. The chlorine content of apatite has a profound influence on the sensitivity of the mineral for recording thermal events. Few current annealing models are capable of comprehensively addressing the variation of chlorine and other trace elements that appear to play a role in the annealing process. This issue is addressed in Chapter 4 where a universal annealing model is proposed to deal with the wide chemical variability observed in real apatites. For this theme, a fresh consideration of established empirical mathematical models was undertaken and all the current published annealing data was considered. Modern inverse modelling is based on a series of robust, but nonetheless empirical, equations that have withstood the test of time. However, with the aim of developing a more realistic and thus predictive model, Chapter 5 introduces an alternative, physicochemical to modelling the thermal annealing of fission tracks. This work attempts to draw firmer links between the processes of fission track formation, the mechanics of diffusion and the predicted response to variable temperature regimes. The first of the case studies is presented in Chapter 6 and is a comprehensive investigation of the long-term landscape evolution of the Davenport Ranges in the central Australian Craton. The study employs traditional petrographic methods as well as thermochronology and combines cosmogenic isotope analysis in an assessment of early landscape models. This chapter expands on work previously published by the author and co-workers (Belton et al., 2004) and has implications for our understanding of landscape evolution in the broader context of the Australian Craton. In order to maximise temperature sensitivity in slow cooled terranes, the relatively new thermochronological technique of (U-Th)/Helium analysis of apatite was tested on a suite of central Australian samples. The inconclusive results of this experiment prompted an investigation into the possible causes, and an important baseline study was conducted (Chapter 7). The study has implications for routine application of this new thermochronometer in cratonic and other terranes. More importantly the research identified a potential new thermochronometer with an even greater temperature sensitivity and near surface application for use in future landscape studies. Chapter 8 documents a larger, craton-wide study of the Mesozoic to recent landscape evolution of the Zimbabwe Craton. This work builds on material presented in earlier chapters and provides a broader view of the nature of crustal cooling, structural reactivation and landform development in the cratonic setting of southern Africa.
ItemDeformation and the thermobaric history of the eastern coast of Williams IslandMarks, Bianca ( 1997)Williams Island is located off the southern coast of the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia where the Palaeoproterozoic rocks of the Lincoln Batholith intrude a portion of an Archaean basement complex. The structures of the eastern coast of Williams Island are controlled by the rheological contrast between the mafic dykes and the felsic granite gneisses that comprise the batholith. Planes of rheological weakness exist at the dyke margins along which strain is localised. The plane of failure and the kinematics along it depends upon the orientation of the dyke with respect to the stress field. Displacements at cross-cutting dyke margins indicates the occurrence of three significant deformation events, D 1, D2 and D3. By comparison, the D1 is localised to a region of outcropping Jussieu Dykes, the D2 is pervasive and the D3 is confined to the discrete Northern and Southern Shear Zones. Associated with the latter two deformations is an increase in temperature and strain rate which controls the relative strength of the metabasic and the granite gneiss rocks. Brittle extensional structures, such as boudinage, form when the mafic dykes behave in a more competent manner relative to the host, whereas ductile extensional features, like pinch and swell, infer a greater homogeneity between the rock types. The rheological contrast is inverted with a preferential increase in strain resulting in granite boudinage. The D2 fabrics arc predominantly defined by a granulite two-pyroxene assemblage and the structural elements of D3 are characterised by minerals associated with amphibolisation. Average pressure calculations of representative assemblages give 7 ± 1 kbar for M2/D2 and 12 ± 2 kbar for M3/D3, which suggests crustal thickening over D2 - D3 time. Exhumation of the crustal block therefore occurred after peak D3.
ItemGeochemistry and mineralisation of primary and secondary platinum-group elements in the ultramafic "Alaskan-type" Owendale complex and laterites in the Fifield Region, New South Wales, AustraliaShi, Bielin ( 1995)The Owendale Complex belongs to a family of ultramafic-mafic intrusions that is characterised by a zonal, nonstratiform arrangement of the principal ultramafic units. The ultramafic rocks of the Owendale Complex are virtually identical to many of the Alaskan-type intrusions, however the associated gabbroic rocks (wehrlites) are K-rich and Si-undersaturated, in contrast to the tholeiitic gabbroic rocks of the Alaskan examples. The intrusion history of the Owendale Complex is thought to have involved emplacement of a gabbroic intrusion that was invaded by an ultrabasic magma, possibly while the former was still only partly solidified. Emplacement of both magmas probably occurred during Late Devonian tectonism and deformation synchronous with emplacement and crystallisation is necessary to explain the present non-stratiform arrangement of the rock units. The most obvious linkage factor between the two proposed parent magmas (gabbroic and ultrabasic) of the Owendale suites is their mutual affinity with tholeiitic basalt magmas and the similarities of their products with intrusions of alkalic basalt derivation. This suggests the possibility that the Owendale Complex rocks and those of other tholeiitic intrusions of the regions are comagmatic products of an ancestral magma that may have also produced the widespread assemblage of complexes. Viewed from this perspective, the ultramafic rocks of Owendale Complex would thus represent a very minor product of a period of regional magmatic activity. Most alloys, erlichmanite, cooperite and some grains with exclusion texture of Pt-Os-Ir-Pd-Rh are considered to represent a primary high-temperature paragenesis. Concentration of PGE in pegmatoidal units of dunite-wehrlite is explained by the accumulation of platinum-rich alloys that segregated directly from the melt at an early stage in the evolution of the complex. The high-temperature PGM segregate directly from a silicate melt and were not generated by exsolution from spinels or magmatic sulphides. These suggest that fS2 was generally low (subordinate sulphide formation) and, after some influence at the beginning, has given way to rising fO2 (chromite, olivine and Pt-Fe-Cu-Ni alloys formation). After lithification, the ultramafic rocks become subject to "reducing" conditions, i.e., conditions of lower O2 and S2 activities. Ni-Fe alloys, native Fe and Bi formed in cracks which filled the serpentine matrixes. The former PGM (erlichmanite, cooperite and Pt-Fe alloys) were exposed to the reducing conditions via cracks were desulphurated to form porous cooperite with Pt-Fe alloys and multiphase textural Os-Ir-Ni, Pt-Ir aggregates. It is plausible that the veinlets and aggregates of unnamed Rh-Sb-S, (Pt, Ir)2(Fc, Cu)3(S, Sb, AS)3 in the dunites may also have been formed by reduction of Ni-rich sulphides and erlichmanite, Pt-Fe alloys or cooperite. Late PGM are dominated by sperrylite-geversite solid solution resulting from the reaction of early PGM with a fluid phase. A hydrothermal origin is also indicated for native Fe, native Bi and awaruite (NiFe) and the base-metal sulphides (pentlandite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, arsenopyrite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, and some Ni-Co-Fe sulfide). The cause of the reducing conditions may have been related to H2 production accompanying hydrous alteration of the dunites and clinopyroxenites. The laterites overlying the ultramafic complexes in the Fifield region are exceptionally well-developed and well-preserved weathering profiles. Field, textural and geochemical data all support a chemical weathering origin for the profiles and compatible with meteoric and ground water origins. Meteoric water with intermediate Eh and pH and negligible dissolved species sinks into the laterite where these parameters are modified. The Eh rises and pH decreases to the conditions typical of lateritic soils and the concentration of dissolved species increases. In this state the water is able to take PGE and Au into solution from a finely disseminated form in the bedrock as a part of the process of lateritisation. When the soil solution transports the PGE and Au towards a transitional interface must exist between the ferruginous and saprolite zones with lower Eh, neutral pH and lower concentration of dissolved salts. At this transitional region, deposition of the PGE and Au occurred. The presence of magnetic Pt-Fe-Cu-Ni alloys suggests that hydrothermal solutions play a later role in the Fifield region, and the alloys have grown in situ in a lateritic soil by a process involving laterite water solution in the high Eh, low pH conditions prevalent in such soil, followed by deposition when the conditions become less extreme. Some examples of the Pt-Fe alloys from such an environment become frequently strongly magnetic with larger size. It is assumed that the temperature of the hydrothermal solution is in the range of 300° - 500° C (Bowles, 1990). PGE mineralisation in the primary rocks and laterite in this region has demonstrated a good example of multi-stage process mineralisation including primary high temperature magmatic formation; low temperature postmagmatic hydrothermal alteration and residual lateritic enrichment.
ItemLate Paleozoic glaciations of Eastern AustraliaBowen, Richard L. ( 1959)In a re-analysis of the Late Paleozoic glaciations of Eastern Australia, close review of elements of paleogeography results in many new interpretations. New data appear from field studies of the details (including till fabric analyses in the Heathcote District of Victoria) of glacial stratigraphy in drift sequences of Victoria and South Australia. Analysis of sedimentary volumes in Tasmania and analysis of sedimentation during the Upper Carboniferous and Permian of New South Wales and Queensland adds more new information. Field reviews of sequences in the Finke District of the Northern Territory, Tasmania, New South Wales, and Queensland aid in understanding the effects of glaciations in those regions. All data known to the writer from extensive field examinations and review of published data may be incorporated into a unified history of the glacial times. Many lacunae exist, but analogy with studies of Pleistocene glacial drifts helps to bridge some gaps. Principally during the Middle and Upper parts of the Upper Carboniferous and in the Early Permian, highland centers in the northwest of Tasmania (the Macquarie Mountains) and in northeast New South Wales (the Clarencetown Mountains, a volcanic range) became loci for glacial formation and spread. From the former, glaciers spread east, north, and northwest. Upon advancing northwest, the Mt. Lofty-Kangaroo Island Ranges were encountered. These were breached with the establishment of glacial corridors, and a glacial lobe subsequently pushed about 600 miles further north-north-west. In that region, this glacial [?] [?] [?] joined a sheet from Western Australia. Also, in pushing north from the Macquarie Mountains, the glaciers apparently advanced 900+ miles to the Springsure District of Queensland. From the Clarencetown Mountains, piedmont glaciers radiated east (to the sea near Mt. George, Booral, and Limeburner’s Creek), south, and west to fill subsiding basins with glacial deposits and some volcanic effusions. Additionally, some glaciers spread east from the epi-Kanimblan mountains of New South Wales. Thick drift sequences left by these spreading glaciers have been preserved in favourable sites. Fluvial and lacustrine deposits in the drifts demonstrate the presence of interstadial and interglacial conditions, but the entire interval may be considered a single glacial epoch much resembling the Pleistocene, although that of the Late Paleozoic probably was much longer. After wastage of the glaciers, cold weather (at least during winters) persisted, for many phenomena found in the Permian sediments seem best related to climates which were cold at least part of the year. Notable among these are the erratics so widely distributed through the marine Permian sediments of eastern Australia. Such erratics seem best explained as phenomena resulting from the transport by winter ice floes of material eroded from glacial drift left on the land by earlier glaciations.
ItemThe stratigraphy and palaeontology of Cape Vani, Milos, GreeceCoffey, Jessica ( 2005)Milos, dominated by Pliocene-Recent explosive calc-alkaline volcanics, is in the active Aegean Arc. This project investigated the microfauna and depositional environment of a sequence associated with the only terrestrial white smoker field in the world. White smokers occur in a volcaniclastic-hosted Mn-Fe-Ba deposit in a 1 km2 rift basin associated with dacite intrusives. Although the sediments are extensively hydrothermally altered, they have sedimentary structures and yield a variety of micro- and macrofossils. The typical microfaunal assemblage comprises Miliolinids (e.g. Quinqueloculina spp.; Triloculina spp.) and Elphidiids (Elphidium spp.). In the absence of any planktonic foraminifera, this assemblage is typical of inner shelf palaeodepths from around 10-50m. The occurrence of this fauna with echinoderm spines indicates an open marine setting with normal salinity levels. The associated coarse-grained burrowed facies with symmetrical ripples and hummocky cross stratification and a macrofauna of molluscs (e.g. pectinids, Mytilus, fish teeth) further indicates a shallow marine setting. Terrestrial artiodactyl megafauna occur at three levels in tuff and trough cross-laminated fluvial deposits suggesting close proximity to a regressive shoreline. Macrofauna were probably killed by tephra, rapidly disarticulated and removed into a shallow marine environment. The sequence is unconformably overlain by coarse-grained alluvial fan to braided river deposits deposited when Milos became emergent. Barite-silica white smokers derive from the ingress of and leaching by seawater into basement and overlying volcanics. Palaeontological-boiling data shows the fluid was at 165-140°C and the extremophile echinoderm spicule microfauna dominated because forams were unable to live in warm silica-laden turgid fluids with a high heavy metal content.
ItemStratigraphy and sedimentology of Cryogenian carbonates, Flinders Ranges, South AustraliaFromhold, Thomas Alexander ( 2011)The Adelaide Geosyncline of South Australia contains a Neoproterozoic-aged sedimentary succession consisting of a complex accumulation of sedimentary formations and units recording a diverse and unique depositional record. A detailed stratigraphic and sedimentological investigation of the interglacial period within the Cryogenian-aged Umberatana Group of the Northern and Central Flinders Ranges reveals a complex array of sedimentary successions lying between the Sturtian and Marinoan glacial deposits. In the Northern Flinders Ranges a major unconformity separates the Sturtian and Marinoan-aged sedimentary successions in the area. This forms a sub-aerial erosion surface with terrestrial and marginal marine sediments directly above the Angepena and Balcanoona formations in their respective localities. This exposure surface is here correlated with the previously documented submarine unconformity between the Yankaninna Formation and the underlying deep marine Tapley Hill Formation. This erosional event provides a chronostratigraphic marker horizon that coincides approximately with the previously defined Sturtian-Marinoan time series boundary in the Northern Flinders Ranges. These stratigraphic relationships also constrain lateral facies relationships between the Oodnaminta Reef Complex (Balcanoona Formation) and the Angepena Formation. Similarly, the shallow water Weetootla Dolomite is correlated with the deeper water carbonates of the Yankaninna Formation. In the Northern Flinders Ranges the Angepena Formation occurs as a marginal marine red-bed succession consisting of supratidal mudstones which are interbedded with subtidal and intertidal carbonates. The Angepena Formation is interpreted as a coastal mudflat succession that formed as a shoreward, laterally equivalent facies of the extensive carbonate platforms (reefs) of the Balcanoona Formation. Sedimentological and geochemical investigation of the Angepena Formation reveal that the unit contains a diverse accumulation of shallow marine carbonates including ooidal sands, tepee buckled algal mats, intraformational breccia (palaeo-caliche) and fenestral-bearing microbial deposits. The stratigraphic and sedimentological relationship within the interglacial successions of the Umberatana Group of the Northern Flinders Ranges are found to extend well over a hundred kilometres southwards into regions of the Central Flinders Ranges. The post-glacial Sturtian-aged Tapley Hill Formation records a near-identical depositional record to the Tapley Hill Formation of the Northern Flinders Ranges. In the Central regions, the Tapley Hill Formation is overlain by deep-marine carbonates and calcareous shales of the Wockerawirra Dolomite and Sunderland Formations respectively. The base of the Wockerawirra Dolomite is defined by an erosional surface, which is directly correlated to the unconformity found overlying the Tapley Hill Formation in the Northern Flinders Ranges (Sturtian-Marinoan series boundary). This stratigraphic relationship indicates the Wockerawirra Dolomite and Sunderland Formations of the Central Flinders Ranges are direct correlatives of the Yankaninna Formation of the Northern Flinders Ranges. The regionally widespread carbonate platform complexes of the Balcanoona Formation in the Northern Flinders Ranges preserve a unique history of the depositional record within the middle Umberatana Group of the Adelaide Geosyncline. Cessation of reef development coincides with a major regression event situated immediately below the Sturtian-Marinoan boundary. The regional consistency of the stratigraphic features found at the Sturtian-Marinoan boundary (i.e. unconformities) suggests that regional scale mechanisms, such as glacio-eustasy, were probably active during this otherwise ‘interglacial’ succession of the Cryogenian-aged Umberatana Group.
ItemThe geology of the Pyramid and Tonghi Creek areas, East GippslandSpiers, Peter D. ( 1984)A study of the geology of the Club Terrace region is being undertaken with two major aims: 1) to provide a clearer picture of the structural geology and geological history of the region and, using this, 2) to investigate Ag, Cu, Pb, and Zn mineralization present in the region with emphasis on producing a model for ore genesis.
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