The Mt. Marcella volcanics : middle Triassic convergent margin volcanism in Southeast Queensland

Buck, Adrian (2008) The Mt. Marcella volcanics : middle Triassic convergent margin volcanism in Southeast Queensland. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Triassic igneous rocks in southeast Queensland show a number of subduction related geochemical characteristics. Extensive calc-alkalic granitoids chains characterise the region and define the ancient arc setting. Despite good evidence that an arc was present, Triassic volcanic rocks are relatively sparse in southeast Queensland. The Mt Marcella Volcanics, of the northern Esk Trough are a previously poorly understood piece of the Middle Triassic convergent margin of southeast Queensland. A three stage model is proposed for the eruptive development of the Middle Triassic (245- 230Ma) volcanic succession that involves; 1) The Middle Triassic basalt, comprising coalesced lava flows covering as much as 500km2 with an estimated eruptive volume in the order of 50km3. 2) The Penwhaupell Volcanic Centre, a concentration of inter-bedded lavas and pyroclastic rocks dominated by dacite that forms a volcanic pile exceeding 2km stratigraphic thickness and representing an eruptive volume of approximately 48km3. 3) The Ettiewyn Caldera, representing the catastrophic culmination of the Mt Marcella Volcanics event, with a sequence of caldera out-flow and in-fill andesite ignimbrites and post-caldera lavas with a total eruptive volume in the order of 130km3. The “Penwhaupell Volcanic Centre” and the “Ettiewyn Caldera” are two new sub-divisions and the proposed names, for the lower and upper sequences of the previously undifferentiated Mt Marcella Volcanics. The Mt Marcella Volcanics magma compositions show cogenetic characteristics that define three evolutionary pathways; 1) a mildly alkali series, from basaltic-andesite to trachy-dacite related through fractionation dominated by plagioclase and clinopyroxene 2) an amphibole series, basaltic-andesite to hornblende dacite through fractionation dominated by plagioclase and hornblende under hydrous conditions, and 3) a pyroxene series, from basaltic-andesite to pyroxene andesite through fractionation dominated by plagioclase and pyroxene. Quantitative petrogenetic models generally support the proposed fractional crystallisation pathway, however weaknesses are acknowledged, with good results for the major elements and REE off-set by generally poor results for the LILE. Despite the inconclusive trace element results for the modelled fractionation, strong geochemical similarities and cogenetic relationships have been established. A typical arc-like geochemical signature including a pronounced Nb depletion characterises the Mt Marcella Volcanics. However, the geochemical character within the Middle Triassic volcanic succession reveals an unusual transition from an OIB character of the Middle Triassic basalts, to the Andean arc character of later Mt Marcella Volcanics. The implications of this could have profound impact on our understanding of how southeast Queensland’s Triassic tectonic setting operated by providing support for hotspot activity rather than subduction-driven activity.

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ID Code: 20171
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Gust, David & Grenfell, Alwyn
Keywords: volcanism, Southeast Queensland, Triassic, Mt. Marcella
Divisions: Past > Schools > Biogeoscience
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 Apr 2009 00:59
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:52

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