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The deformational history of the Larsemann Hills, Prydz Bay: the importance of the Pan-African (500 Ma) in East Antarctica

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2004

Paul H. G. M. Dirks
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Utrecht, PO Box 80.021, 3508TA, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Chris J. Carson
School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia
Chris J. L. Wilson
School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia


The Larsemann Hills represent a low-pressure granulite terrain with a complex structural-metamorphic history that comprises two parts: 1) granulite facies D1 structures transposed within an early form surface that probably formed at 1000 Ma, and 2) a sequence of progressive, upper amphibolite to lower granulite facies D2–D6 structures that formed during the Pan-African at 500 Ma and were associated with the emplacement of granites and pegmatites with high-grade alteration zones. D2–D6 events comprise an early form surface that has been tightly folded and sheared twice after which it was warped and transected by discrete mylonites. D2–D6 assemblages are associated with decompression textures on D1 peak-assemblages, such as cordierite coronas on garnet + sillimanite in metapelite and plagioclase coronas on garnet in metabasite. This suggests that D2–D6 formed at slightly lower pressures than D1 structures. However, the spatial correlation between the coronas and alteration zones around pegmatitic intrusives indicates that the apparent decompression textures may have partly resulted from transient fluxes in water pressure following melt crystallization. Throughout East Antarctica tectonic provinces have been recognized in which the 1000 Ma tectonothermal events are identified as the main stage in the evolution, and Pan-African events are dismissed as a minor thermal overprint. Although the Larsemann Hills are small in area, they are representative of a great many granulite terrains in East Antarctica, and suggest that great care is needed in the structural-metamorphic analysis of such terrains to ensure the separation of tectonic stages before an interpretation of the tectonic path is attempted.

Papers—Earth Sciences and Glaciology
© Antarctic Science Ltd 1993

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