Palaeomagnetic, Tectonic, Magmatic and Mineralisation Events in the Proterozoic of Northern Australia

Wyborn L A I, ; Hinman M C, ; Idnurm M,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Comparison of the Proterozoic Apparent Polar Wander Path (APWP) for Australia with the corresponding geology of northern Australia suggests that a number of discrete interplate tectonic events, manifested on the APWP as bends or inflections, may have controlled sedimentary basin evolution, ore fluid production and the timing of mineralisation. Similar features in the Phanerozoic APWP for the North American plate appear to correlate with major orogenic events, basin deformation, movement and 'entrapment' of hydrocarbons and minerals. Interplate tectonic events cause intraplate deformation which in turn controls the subsidence/uplift and sedimentation histories of the basins. Interplate events are thus responsible for creating, deforming and destroying sedimentary basins and the associated petroleum and mineral systems. The basins of northern Australia show remarkable similarities in the successions of volcanic and sedimentary deposits. Unconforrnities of regional or sometimes only local extent have been mapped between the major sedimentary sequences and it is predicted that interplate tectonic events corresponding to bends or inflections on the APWP directly reflect the processes that have produced these widespread unconformities. These processes are also likely to have controlled the geometry and character of the fluid migration pathways and hence the mineralising events. Palaeomagnetic studies of Proterozoic rocks in sedimentary basins provide a tool for predicting the timing of regional mineralisation events, particularly for low-temperature mineral systems. The techniques, when coupled with systematic regional basin analysis, using petroleum exploration techniques, may identify a number of new mineral 'plays' in northern Australia. Prominent inflections in the APWP occur at approximately 1700, 1670, 1650, 1600, 1540, and 1480 Ma. Each of these may be related to a regional compressional deformation, important mineralising event, or significant change in style and type of sedimentation. Most appear to be associated with magnetic overprints. Some of the inflections between 1400 and 540 Ma may also mark significant events in the evolution of Meso- and Neoproterozoic basins. Further work is required to correlate inflections in the APWP with alteration events in order to understand their regional significance.
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