Provenance of Papuan Peninsula (Papua New Guinea): Zircon inheritance from Miocene-Pliocene volcanics and volcaniclastics

Holm, Robert J., Heilbronn, Kelly, Saroa, Dulcie, and Maim, Gideon (2023) Provenance of Papuan Peninsula (Papua New Guinea): Zircon inheritance from Miocene-Pliocene volcanics and volcaniclastics. Geosciences, 13. 324.

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Plate tectonic reconstructions of Papua New Guinea prior to the late Cenozoic are characterized by a lack of provenance data to constrain the relative origin of the allochthonous terranes. At present, plate tectonic reconstructions of this region infer that the accreted New Guinea terranes at the northern Australian continental margin are likely autochthonous or para-autochthonous in nature. This study presents the results of an investigation into zircons derived from Miocene–Pliocene volcanics and volcaniclastics of the Papuan Peninsula. Results from U-Pb zircon geochronology inform the recent geological history of the Papuan Peninsula, with magmatism active in the late Miocene and early Pliocene, between approximately 9 Ma and 4.5 Ma. More significantly, however, is the recognition of extensive inherited zircon grains within the volcanic and volcaniclastic sequences. These inherited zircon grains are most likely sourced from the Owen Stanley Metamorphics, which form the basement rocks of the Papuan Peninsula. Provenance of the inherited zircon grains imply that the Cretaceous volcaniclastic protolith of the Owen Stanley Metamorphics must have had input from continental detritus, but this cannot be derived from North Queensland, Australia as inferred by current reconstructions. Instead, zircon U-Pb age spectra correlate with probable source regions further to the south, adjacent to the Shoalwater Formation of the Central Queensland margin, and New Caledonia. These findings suggest that late Mesozoic and Cenozoic regional reconstructions of eastern Australia and the Southwest Pacific require major revision and that additional work is undertaken to inform the provenance of such allochthonous terranes

Item ID: 82351
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-3263
Copyright Information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2024 23:34
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370502 Geochronology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280107 Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences @ 100%
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