Petrogenesis of I- and S-type Granites in the Cape River - Lolworth area, northeastern Queensland - Their contribution to an understanding of the Early Palaeozoic Geological History of northeastern Queensland

Hutton, Laurie James (2004) Petrogenesis of I- and S-type Granites in the Cape River - Lolworth area, northeastern Queensland - Their contribution to an understanding of the Early Palaeozoic Geological History of northeastern Queensland. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The geological history of the Early Palaeozoic in eastern Australia is not known precisely. The eastern margin of the outcropping Precambrian Craton 'Tasman Line' is poorly understood. The Thomson Orogen, which underlies much of eastern Queensland, lies to the east of the Tasman Line. Basement to the Tasman Orogenic Zone is poorly understood, but knowledge of this basement is critical to our understanding to the processes that formed the eastern margin of the Precambrian craton.

The Lolworth-Ravenswood Province lies to the east of the Tasman Line in northeast Queensland. A study of basement terranes in the Lolworth-Ravenswood Province will therefore provide some insights as to the nature of crust beneath this area, and therefore to the basement to the Thomson Orogen.

The Fat Hen Creek Complex comprises para-authchthonous bodies of granitoid within middle to upper amphibolite facies metamorphic rocks. Data contained herein demonstrate that the composition and geochemistry of the granitoid are compatible with the generation of the granitoid by partial anatexis of the metamorphic rocks that are part of the Cape River Metamorphics. Temperature and pressure of anatexis is determined to be between 800-850OC and 5-9kb. Under these conditions, experimental data indicate that meta-pelite and meta-greywacke will produce between 5-10% melt coexisting with biotite, cordierite, garnet and plagioclase. The mineralogy of the granitoid bodies in the Fat Hen Creek Complex is consistent with partial anatexis of meta-greywacke at these temperatures and pressures. 5-10% melt is generally insufficient to allow efficient separation of melt and restite. The granitoids of the Fat Hen Creek Complex are interpreted as being a closed system with melt generated during high-grade metamorphism not separating from the residium.

U/Pb dating of zircon from the Fat Hen Creek Complex indicate two distinct periods of zircon growth. The older episode occurred during the Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician. A second episode is dated as Middle Ordovician. This younger age coincides with the onset of regional compression, and may be related to exhumation of a mid-crustal layer during thrusting.

The Lolworth Batholith is one of three granite batholiths in the Lolworth-Ravenswood Province. It comprises mainly muscovite-biotite granite, with smaller areas of hornblende-biotite granite to granodiorite. Sills and dykes of muscovite and garnet-muscovite leucogranite extensively intrude both of these types.

The hornblende-biotite granite to granodiorite is metaluminous, with petrographic and geochemical characteristics similar to the adjacent Ravenswood Batholith. U-Pb SHRIMP ages also overlap with those from the Ravenswood Batholith. ENd(tc) values of ~-3 suggest a significant crustal contribution in the magma. Zircon populations determined using the SHRIMP suggest some inheritance from a Neoproterozoic source.

The two-mica granites make up over 80% of the batholith and show little variation throughout. Aluminium Saturation indices range dominantly from 1-1.1, in keeping with the muscovite-bearing nature of the granites. U-Pb ages are significantly younger than the hornblende-biotite granitoids. ENd(tc) is ~-10, suggesting a greater role for crustal material in these granites than in the hornblende-bearing varieties. Previously, these granites were interpreted as S-types, mainly on the basis of the presence of muscovite. Low Na/Ca and Na greater than K are both considered as indicators of source compositions and both are characteristic of a mafic igneous rather than a meta-sedimentary source. Anatexis of mafic igneous rocks at temperatures less than~1000OC are found experimentally to produce peraluminous melts similar to those which produced the two-mica granites.

The third major rock-type in the Lolworth Batholith is muscovite leucogranite, which occurs as sills and dykes intruding older granites and basement. The age of the leucogranite was not determined, but it has sharp contacts with the two-mica granite suggesting that the latter had cooled prior to intrusion of the former. The leucogranite is strongly peraluminous and is deemed to have been derived from anatexis of a supra-crustal (meta-sedimentary) source.

The batholith is therefore deemed to comprise three different elements. The hornblende-biotite granitoids are the western extension of the adjacent Ravenswood Batholith. The two-mica granite and muscovite leucogranite are derived from different sources, but may be part of the same crustal anatexis event.

During the Early Palaeozoic, the Lolworth-Ravenswood Province saw the intrusion of three granite batholiths into a basement of Late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian meta-sedimentary rocks. Also, Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician and Middle Ordovician high-grade metamorphism accompanied by partial anatexis is recorded at several sites across northeast Queensland. Although this metamorphism is restricted to these sites, they are widespread across the area suggestive of a widespread metamorphic event at these times. Similar metamorphism is recorded in the Arunta Inlier in Central Australia increasing the possible extent of this event.

The geochemistry, isotopic characteristics and zircon populations of granites in the Lolworth-Ravenswood Province are used to characterise their source rocks; and thus the basement to the Province. Precambrian basement is indicated to underlie the entire province. However, the source rocks for the eastern part of the Province (Ravenswood and into the Lolworth Batholiths) are different to source rocks for the western part of the Province. Georgetown-type crust extends eastwards from the outcropping area, extending under the western Lolworth-Ravenswood Province.

Late Mesoproterozoic rocks are recorded from the Cape River area adjacent to the Lolworth Batholith. They are also indicated as source-rocks for granites in the Ravenswood Batholith. Rocks of this age are characteristic of Grenvillian-age mobile belts in the United States. Their presence in north Qeensland has implications for the breakup of Rodinia, the Mesoproterozoic-age super continent that broke up during the Neoproterozoic.

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ID Code: 15858
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Gust, David, Chappell, Bruce, & Grenfell, Alwyn
Keywords: Regional geology, metamorphic geology, igneous geology, plutonic rocks, geochemistry, geochronology, isotopic geology, tectonics, Rodinia, Cape River Metamorphics, Lolworth Batholith, Ravenswood Batholith, Reedy Springs Batholith, Lolworth-Ravenswood Province, Georgetown Province, Fat Hen Creek Complex, Mesoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Cape River area, Pentland, SF5501, SF5502, 7957, 7956, 8057
Divisions: Past > Schools > Biogeoscience
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Department: Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Laurie James Hutton
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:51
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:39

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