Revision of the Markham 1:250,000 Sheet, Papua New Guinea: What is the Finsterre Terrane?
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1997
Since the advent of plate tectonic modelling, the Ramu-Markham valley has been thought the site of a classical island-arc/conti- nent collision zone. In this interpretation the units south of the Markham Valley are held to be island are / micrcontinental mate- rial accreted to Australia and those north of the valley are thought to represent a separate Finisterre island-arc terrane. Recent remapping by the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea shows: (1) there is no terrane boundary along the Ramu-Markham valley (2) the Finisterre Volcanics are probably part of either a fore-arc sequence or oceanic plateau obducted onto a microcontinent/ volcanic-arc composite terrane, accreted to the continental Australian plate. A new tectonic model is proposed for northern PNG and involves: (I) Eocene to Late Oligocene subduction below a microcontinent remote from Australia to produce the Sepik are and related intrusives, the Finisterre Volcanics (fore-arc or possible oce- anic plateau), together with the Alife blueschist. (2) obduction of the Sepik arc in Late Oligocene-Early Miocene times over the advancing Australian plate. This resulted in crustal melting, some of the products of which are the Mid- dle to Late Miocene Akuna and Bismarck intrusive complexes of the Maramuni arc. (3) obduction of the Finisterre Volcanics began in Early Pliocene times and continues today. (4) post-Middle Miocene mineralisation is the result of melting after obduction of the Sepik microcontinent.