Cambrian reworking of the southern Australian Proterozoic Curnamona Province: constraints from regional shear-zone systems


<p>Palaeoproterozoic to early Mesoproterozoic metamorphic rocks of the Curnamona Province, southern Australia, are crosscut by a system of regional-scale shear zones that locally dominate the terrain. Combined metamorphic and geochronological data from localities across the southern Curnamona Province indicate that the peak metamorphic shear-zone assemblages formed during the Cambrian (<em>c</em>. 500 Ma) Delamerian Orogeny, and not during the waning stages of the <em>c</em>. 1600 Ma Olarian Orogeny as has been previously asserted. A combination of monazite chemical U–Th–Pb and garnet Sm–Nd geochronology indicates that shear-zone fabrics formed between 497 and 517 Ma. Peak metamorphic conditions obtained from prograde garnet–staurolite–biotite–muscovite–chlorite–quartz assemblages are between 530 and 600 °C at pressures of around 5 kbar. The apparent absence of significant up-pressure prograde paths recorded by the mineral assemblages, together with modest (10–20%) Delamerian shortening, suggests that attainment of burial to depths of around 18 km was largely a function of pre-Delamerian sedimentation over the interval from <em>c</em>. 700 to 530 Ma. The spatial association between the pattern of basement metamorphism and reactivation during the Delamerian Orogeny is interpreted to reflect in part the distribution of pre-Delamerian sedimentation, and highlights the potential importance of pre-orogenic processes such as basin development in controlling the style and pattern of later terrain reactivation and reworking. </p

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