Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The Vestfold Hills, one of several Archaean cratonic blocks within the East Antarctic Shield, comprises a high-grade metamorphic basement complex intruded by at least nine generations of Early to Middle Proterozoic mafic dykes. Extensive U-Pb ion microprobe (SHRIMP) analyses of zircons, derived predominantly from late-stage felsic differentiates of the mafic dykes, provide precise crystallisation ages for several dyke generations. These new ages enable constraints to be placed on both the history of mafic magmatism in the Vestfold Hills and the timing of the various interspersed Proterozoic deformation events. In addition to demonstrating the utility of zircons derived from felsic late-stage differentiates for the dating of co-genetic mafic dykes, this study also places doubt on previous wholerock Rb-Sr dating of mafic dyke suites in this and other areas of East Antarctica. The 207Pb/206Pb zircon ages of 2241±4 Ma and 2238±7 Ma for the Homogeneous and Mottled Norites, respectively, provide a younger emplacement age for associated group 2 High-Mg tholeiite dykes than the whole-rock Rb-Sr date (2424±72 Ma) originally interpreted as the age of all high-Mg intrusives in the Vestfold Hills. Zircon ages of 1754±16 Ma and 1832±72 Ma confirm the previously defined Rb-Sr age of the group 2 Fe-rich tholeiites. Two later dyke generations, the group 3 and 4 Fe-rich tholeiites, are distinguished on the basis of field orientations and cross-cutting relationships, and yield zircon emplacement ages of 1380±7 Ma and 1241±5 Ma which also define minimum ages for two suites of lamprophyre dykes. Xenocrystic zircons within both felsic segregations and mafic dykes yield zircon ages of 2478±5 Ma to ∼2740 Ma, indicating the presence of Archaean crustal source rocks of this antiquity beneath the Vestfold Hills.
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