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Petrography and geochemistry of the Carboniferous–Triassic Trinity Peninsula Group, West Antarctica: implications for provenance and tectonic setting

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2014

Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Chile, Plaza Ercilla 803, Santiago, Chile
Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, Av. Santa María 0104, Santiago, Chile
Institut für Geologie und Paläontologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Corrensstrasse 24, 48 149 Münster, Germany Institutt for Petroleumsteknologi, Universitetet i Stavanger, 4036 Stavanger, Norway
Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Chile, Plaza Ercilla 803, Santiago, Chile Escuela de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Andrés Bello, Sazié 2315, Santiago, Chile
Author for correspondence:


The Carboniferous-Triassic Trinity Peninsula Group is a metasedimentary sequence that crops out widely in the northern Antarctic Peninsula. These are some of the most extensive outcrops in the area and hold the key to evaluating the connections of the Antarctic Peninsula in Gondwana; however, they are still poorly understood. Here we present our provenance study of the Trinity Peninsula Group using petrographic and geochemical approaches in combination with cathodoluminescence of detrital quartz in order to constrain its source characteristics and tectonic setting. Using differences in modal composition and quartz cathodoluminescence characteristics, we define three petrofacies derived from the progressive uplift and erosion of a volcano-plutonic continental arc, which exposed the plutonic-metamorphic roots. As indicated by major and trace elements, the source is felsic with a composition ranging from tonalitic to granodioritic. The relatively unweathered condition of the source area points to a dry and cold climate at the time of deposition, but this does not necessarily mean that it was glaciated. Deposition of the sediments occurred within an active continental margin, relatively close to the source area, probably along the south Patagonia–Antarctic Peninsula sector of Gondwana. Strong chronological, petrological and chemical similarities with the sediments of the Duque the York Complex in Patagonia suggest that they were derived from the same source.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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