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Abstract

The Chameis Gate Member is a poorly exposed and poorly investigated diamictite in the Chameis Subterrane of the Marmora Terrane, which forms the western, completely allochthonous part of the Pan-African Gariep Belt (southwestern Namibia). Its significance lies in its position in an entirely oceanic unit, the Dernburg Formation, which is dominated by mafic volcanic rocks. The diamictite contains exotic dropstones in a mafic volcaniclastic matrix, thus providing evidence for transport by ice away from the continental margin into an oceanic environment. No direct age data are available and stratigraphic relationships are obscured by limited outcrop and intense syn-orogogenic deformation. Preliminary chemostratigraphic data obtained on carbonate rocks below and above the diamictite, imprecise Pb–Pb age data on the largely volcaniclastic silicate fraction within associated stromatolitic reef carbonates, and imprecise Ar–Ar data on early hornblende related to sea-floor metamorphism of the associated volcanic rocks all point to an age loosely constrained between 640 and 580 Ma. Based on a comparison between the tectono-stratigraphic units of the Marmora Terrane with the continental Port Nolloth Group on the one side and the Rocha Group of the Punta del Este Terrane in Uruguay on the other side of the terrane, it is suggested that the diamictite was deposited in a back-arc basin that developed in response to the 640–590 Ma volcanic arc of the Dom Feliciano Belt in southeastern Brazil and eastern Uruguay.

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