The Permian glacial sediments of central Victoria and the Murray Basin: their sedimentology and geochemistry
AuthorO'Brien, Philip Edward
AffiliationDepartment of Geology
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsO'Brien, P. E. (1986). The Permian glacial sediments of central Victoria and the Murray Basin: their sedimentology and geochemistry. PhD thesis, Department of Geology, University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
Deposited with permission of the author. © 1986 Dr. Philip Edward O'Brien
This study investigates the sedimentology and geochemistry of Permian glacial sediments cropping out in the Bacchus Marsh and Derrinal areas in central Victoria and in the subsurface beneath the Cainozoic Murray Basin in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Facies analysis of the Bacchus Marsh Formation, based on a critical review of literature on glacial sedimentary processes and environments, identifies the following major facies groups: 1. Subglacial tillites deposited beneath wet-based ice. Some of these tillites exhibit structures indicative of a number of subglacial processes such as frictional lodgement of large clasts, subglacial bed deformation, subglacial meltwater flow and subglacial size sorting of clasts. Other subglacial tillites are essentially structureless. 2. Bedded diamictites to sandstones deposited predominantly by ice-rafting of debris into standing water. 3. Fluvial outwash sandstone and conglomerate facies that are finer-grained than typical proglacial outwash facies. 4. Deltas and subaqueous outwash fans vary from sandy sediments deposited by proglacial and subglacial streams to coarse, poorly sorted complexes deposited as debris aprons close to the ice front. Abundant underflow deposits suggest that less than normal marine salinities prevailed in these water bodies, even if they were arms of the sea. 5. Supraglacial tillites consisting of sandy diamictites to pebble conglomerates. Facies in the thickest sequence in the Bacchus Marsh area suggests that the area was covered by a major ice mass at least 8 times. Minor glacial advances took place during predominantly ice-free periods. The Derrinal Formation consists of a basal unit of predominantly subglacial tillite deposited in shallow glacially excavated valleys overlain by a complex of subglacial and supraglacial facies deposited by about 8 minor advances of a small ice tongue. Facies relationships in this part of the sequence are confused by intense deformation of the sediment pile during the melting of buried ice and dewatering of saturated diamictons. A major ice advance then overwhelmed the area depositing thick subglacial tillite. The Urana Formation, beneath the Murray Basin, is dominated by marine ice-rafted diamictite and mudstone. Rhythmically bedded siltstone and claystone, sediment gravity-flow deposits, traction-current deposits, and, possibly, subglacial tillites are also present. Facies assemblages in some drill holes indicate areas that were never covered by grounded glacial ice. Sedimentological and palaeontological evidence suggests that the Urana Formation was deposited towards the end of the glaciation. Ice motion indicators and ice sheet limits inferred from the facies assemblages in the Urana Formation are used to estimate the thickness of the ice over central Victoria during glacial maxima. These estimates support the conclusion drawn from the facies analysis that the ice was a large ice sheet. Comparisons of ice movement directions for central Victoria and formerly adjacent parts of Gondwana suggest that a large ice sheet was centred in North Victorialand. Major and some trace elements analyses of the clay component of marine and non-marine diamictites were used to test a number of methods of distinguishing marine from nonmarine glacial diamictites. None of the methods were clearly successful because sediment detrital mineralogy dominates the geochemical composition though V/Cr ratios may be useful in some circumstances.
Keywordsglacial landforms; Victoria; Permian stratigraphic geology; sedimentary structures
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