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Abstract

Neoproterozoic glaciogenic formations are preserved in the Kimberley region and northwestern Northern Territory of northern Australia. They are distributed in the west Kimberley adjacent to the northern margins of the King Leopold Orogen, the Mt Ramsay area at the junction of the King Leopold and Halls Creek orogens, and east Kimberley, adjacent to the eastern margin of the Halls Creek Orogen. Small outlier glaciogenic deposits are preserved in the Litchfield Province, Northern Territory (Uniya Fm.) and Georgina Basin, western Queensland (Little Burke Fm.).

Glaciogenic strata comprise diamictite, conglomerate, sandstone and pebbly mudstone and characterize the Walsh, Landrigan and Fargoo/Moonlight Valley formations. Thin units of laminated dolomite sit conformably at the top of the Walsh, Landrigan and Moonlight Valley formations. Glaciogenic units are also interbedded with the carbonate platform deposits of the Egan Fm. and Boonall Dolomite. δ13C data are available for all carbonate units. There is no direct chronological constraint on these successions, and dispute over the regional correlation of the Neoproterozoic succession has been largely resolved through biostratigraphic, chemostratigraphic and lithostratigraphic analysis. However, palaeomagnetic results from the Walsh Fm. are inconsistent with sedimentologically based correlations. Two stratigraphically defined glaciations are preserved in northwestern Australia: the ‘Landrigan Glaciation’, characterized by SW-directed continental ice-sheet movement and correlated with late Cryogenian glaciation elsewhere in Australia and the world; and, the ‘Egan Glaciation’, a more localized glaciation of the Ediacaran Period. Future research focus should include chronology, palaeomagnetic constraint and tectonostratigraphic controls on deposition.

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