The Permo-Triassic Gondwana sequence, central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica: Zircon geochronology, provenance, and basin evolution
The most complete Permian–Triassic Gondwana succession in Antarctica crops out in the central Transantarctic Mountains. The lower Permian strata were deposited in an intracratonic basin that evolved into a foreland basin in late Permian time. Sedimentary petrology and paleocurrent data have been interpreted as indicating a granitic (craton) provenance and a West Antarctic volcanic provenance. To address the West Antarctic provenance and evolution of the detrital input, detrital-zircon grains from nine sandstones (plus three sandstones reported previously) representing the full extent of the Permo-Triassic succession exposed on that flank of the basin, have been analyzed by sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe. Results define three provenances: an early (early to middle Permian) provenance that is dominated by zircons having Ross orogen ages (600–480 Ma); a middle (late Permian) provenance dominated by Permian zircons with subordinate older magmatic arc grains plus lesser Ross orogen–age grains; and a late (Triassic) provenance, which is quite variable and in which the predominant Triassic arc component ranges from very minor to significant and again with a component of Ross orogen–age grains. Detrital zircons imply a more extensive Permo-Triassic arc, in time and space, on the Gondwana margin than is evident from outcrop data. The zircon data are integrated into a model for basin evolution and infilling, providing broad constraints on the timing of tectonic events and the provenance.
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