Stratigraphy, distribution and geochemistry of widespread felsic volcanic units in the Mesoproterozoic Gawler Range Volcanics, South Australia
Allen, SR and Simpson, C and McPhie, J and Daly, SJ, Stratigraphy, distribution and geochemistry of widespread felsic volcanic units in the Mesoproterozoic Gawler Range Volcanics, South Australia, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 50, (1) pp. 97-112. ISSN 0812-0099 (2003) [Refereed Article]
Three widespread felsic volcanic units, the Eucarro Rhyolite, Pondanna Dacite Member and Moonaree Dacite Member, have been distinguished in the Mesoproterozoic Gawler Range Volcanics. These three units are the largest in the Gawler Range Volcanics, each in excess of 500 km3. Each unit is ∼300 m thick and includes a black, formerly glassy base, a granophyric columnar-jointed interior, and an amygdaloidal outer margin. The units are very gently dipping and locally separated by thin (<20 m) lenses of either ignimbrite (Mt Double Ignimbrite), tuffaceous sandstone or faults. The youngest unit, the Moonaree Dacite Member, covers a central area with a diameter greater than 80 km. The southern two units have east-west extents in the order of 180 km, but are much less extensive from south to north (5-60 km). All three units are dominated by euhedral phenocrysts and are relatively crystal rich. Both the Eucarro Rhyolite and Moonaree Dacite Member contain clasts of basement granitoid and other lithologies and are locally heterogeneous in texture and composition. Some granitoid clasts have disintegrated, liberating feldspar and quartz crystals into the surrounding host. These liberated crystals cause textural variations, but can be identified on the basis of shape (amoeboid or skeletal) and/or size (megacrysts). Textural and lithofacies characteristics are consistent with the interpretation that these units are lavas; the strongly elongate distribution and wide extent of the Eucarro Rhyolite and Pondanna Dacite Member could indicate that vents were aligned along an extensive east-west-trending fissure system. Stratigraphic nomenclature has been revised to better reflect the presence of the three emplacement units. The oldest unit, the Eucarro Rhyolite, is dominated by plagioclase-phyric rhyolite that locally includes granitoid clasts and megacrysts. Along the northern margin, the rhyolite is amygdaloidal and has mingled with a quartz-rich rhyolite (Paney Rhyolite Member). The Eucarro Rhyolite and Paney Rhyolite Member replace the formerly defined 'Eucarro Dacite','Nonning Rhyodacite','Yannablie Rhyodacite' and 'Paney Rhyolite'. The two younger units, Pondanna Dacite Member and Moonaree Dacite Member, are compositionally and spatially distinct, newly defined members of the Yardea Dacite.