Cambro-Ordovician magmatism in the Delamerian orogeny: Implications for tectonic development of the southern Gondwanan margin

John Foden, Marlina Elburg, Simon Turner, Chris Clark, Morgan L. Blades, Grant Cox, Alan S. Collins, Keryn Wolff, Christian George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The Delamerian Orogen formed at the final stages of assembly of the Gondwana supercontinent. This system marks the initiation of subduction of the Pacific oceanic lithosphere along a prior rifted and extended passive margin. This paper explores the magmatic consequences following the early Cambrian initiation at the palaeo-Pacific margin in South Australia (SA) and western Victoria. Our data reveal a 50 Ma syn- to post-Delamerian tectono-magmatic history. Sampled from drill core from beneath the eastern Murray Basin cover in eastern SA, boninitic high Mg andesite from drill hole KTH12 and 516.1 ± 2 Ma quartz diorite suggest that first subduction established a volcanic arc within easternmost SA. Pacific-ward trench retreat then resulted in arc migration to reach the Mt Stavely Belt and Stawell Zones in western Victoria by ~510 Ma where boninitic arc magmatism continued until ~490 Ma. In the SA foreland of the Delamerian Orogen, early (522 ± 4 Ma) alkali basalt gave way to intrusion and extrusion of MORB-like tholeiites of back-arc basalt character. Through much of the middle and late Cambrian the SA Delamerian was in the back-arc and under extension but with periodic compression resulting from periodic Pacific-Australian plate coupling beneath the forearc in western Victoria. In SA syn-tectonic I- and S-type granites reflect interaction of MORB-like back-arc magmas and their transported heat with continental-derived sediment of the Kanmantoo Group. The termination of the Delamerian orogeny at ~490 Ma was accompanied by buoyancy-controlled, exhumation and erosion. This was driven by delamination of a mafic, crustal underplate, whose re-melting at 1.5 to 2 GPa and 1050 °C generated the unique 495 ± 1 Ma Kinchina/Monarto adakite. Delamination resulted in lithospheric mantle thinning and local convective overturn allowing upwelling of the asthenosphere to drive the post-kinematic magmatic phase of the Delamerian, yielding voluminous 490 Ma–470 Ma A-type granites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-521
Number of pages32
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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