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Early Permian radiolarians from the extension of the Sa Kaeo Suture in Cambodia – tectonic implications


A reconnaissance survey of part of western Cambodia has found quarries in and near the town of Pailin containing chert, basalt, volcaniclastic rocks, gabbro and serpentinite. Abandoned quarries contain chert and basalt clasts in a volcaniclastic matrix and may constitute a mélange. A new, recently active, quarry contains these rock units in close and coherent contact but they lack the serpentinitic matrix of the Thung Kabin Mélange of eastern Thailand. The rock units are in close contact and may best be described collectively as a dismembered ophiolite. The mélange–ophiolite association constitutes a 3 km wide, 20 km long E–W belt separating a northern 200 km2 block of the mainly amphibolitic Pailin Crystalline Complex from a southern area of Triassic submarine fan siliciclastic rocks. The cherts yield the first documented radiolarian fauna from Cambodia and include a moderately well-preserved Asselian–Sakmarian age fauna consisting of Pseudoalbaillella sakmarensis, Pseudoalbaillella scalprata morphotype scalprata, Pseudoalbaillella sp. cf. P. simplex, Pseudoalbaillella u-forma morphotype II, Pseudoalbaillella sp. cf. P. elegans, Pseudoalbaillella sp. cf. P. lomentaria, Albaillella sp., Pseudoalbaillella spp., Trilonche? sp., Latentifistularia gen. et sp. indet. and Entactinaria gen. et sp. indet. The Pailin ophiolitic rocks, mélange and volcanic rocks occur within a generally E–W-trending belt, which suggests that the Sa Kaeo Suture does not extend southeastwards paralleling the Thai–Cambodian border, nor extend under the Cardamom Mountains but, rather, extends eastwards into Cambodia and possibly then turns southwards along the strike of the Pursat–Kampot Fold Belt.

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