Jurassic uplift and erosion of the northeast Queensland continental margin: evidence from (U–Th)/He thermochronology combined with U–Pb detrital zircon age spectra

Cheng, Y., Todd, C.N., Henderson, R.A., Danisik, M., Sahlstrom, F., Chang, Z., and Correl, I (2020) Jurassic uplift and erosion of the northeast Queensland continental margin: evidence from (U–Th)/He thermochronology combined with U–Pb detrital zircon age spectra. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 67 (4). pp. 591-604.

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The Jurassic–Cretaceous Great Artesian Basin is the most extensive, and largest volume, sedimentary feature of continental Australia. The source of its mud-dominated Cretaceous infill is attributed largely to contemporary magmatism along the continental margin to the east, but the source of its Jurassic infill, dominated by quartz sandstone, remains unconstrained. This paper investigates the question of a Jurassic sediment source for the northern part of the basin. Jurassic uplift and exhumation of the continental margin crustal sector to the east provided the primary Jurassic sediment source. (U–Th)/He data are presented for zircon and apatite from Pennsylvanian to mid Permian granitoids of the Kennedy Igneous Association distributed within the northern Tasmanides between the Townsville and Cairns regions and for coeval granites of the Urannha batholith from the Mount Carlton district (N Bowen Basin), also within the northern Tasmanides. The data from zircon indicate widespread Jurassic exhumation of a crustal tract located to the east of the northern Great Artesian Basin and largely occupied by rocks of the Tasmanides. Detrital zircon age spectra for samples of the Jurassic Hutton and Blantyre sandstones from the northeastern margin of the Great Artesian Basin show their derivation to be largely from rocks of the northern Tasmanides. In combination, the detrital age spectra and (U–Th)/He data from zircon indicate exhumation owing to uplift generating appreciable physiographic relief along the north Queensland continental margin during the Jurassic, shedding sediment westward into the Great Artesian Basin during its early development. A portion of (U–Th)/He data for zircon are consistent with late Permian–mid Triassic exhumation within the Tasmanides, attributable to the influence of the Hunter–Bowen Orogeny. Evidence of Cretaceous and Paleocene exhumation episodes is also indicated for some samples, mainly by apatite (U–Th)/He analysis, consistent with data previously published from fission track studies. Overall, new data from the present study reveal that the exhumation related to Jurassic regional uplift and the subsequent erosional reworking of the northeast Australian continental margin is critical for the evolution and development of the northern side of the Great Artesian Basin in eastern Australia. Apart from this, another two previously suggested Permian–Triassic and Cretaceous exhumation and uplift episodes along the northeast Australian continental margin are also confirmed by the dataset of this study.

Item ID: 65787
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-0952
Keywords: Great Artesian Basin; Jurassic System; detrital zircon geochronology; (U–Th)/He thermochronology; exhumation history; Jurassic uplift; sedimentary provenance
Copyright Information: (C) 2020 Geological Society of Australia
Funders: Geological Survey of Queensland, James Cook University (JCU), Australian Research Council (ARC), Curtin Research Fellowship
Projects and Grants: ARC DP160102427, ARc DP 18012851
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 03:13
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370511 Structural geology and tectonics @ 70%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370502 Geochronology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8499 Other Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources) > 849999 Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 50%
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