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Abstract

An interval several hundred metres thick in the lower part of the late Ediacaran Billy Springs Formation (Fm.) of the NE Flinders Ranges, South Australia, includes both diamictic levels, ‘dropstones’ and isolated ‘stone-clusters’ in a thin-bedded, silty or fine sandy matrix, which is commonly laminated. Slumping at a variety of scales is prevalent, but extensive panels of ‘right-way-up’, moderately dipping beds host dropstones, which disturbed the laminae. It is difficult to explain laminated sediments peppered with dropstones other than by ice-rafting, and the stone-clusters comply with sinking pieces of ice loaded with debris. Although common reworking occurred in channels, larger erratics in this material are out of hydrodynamic equilibrium. Deposition occurred offshore on an unstable slope.

Isotopic δ13Ccarb measurements show a strong negative excursion through the preceding Wonoka Fm., and several further similar negative excursions in the Billy Springs Fm. This record shows similarities to that of Ediacaran carbonates on the Yangtze platform, south China. Compilation based on a survey of palaeomagnetic data for Gondwana continents, Baltica and Laurasia permits a possible palaeogeography indicating a relatively high palaeolatitude at the time of deposition. Indications of age are imprecise but may be comparable with, or younger(?) than the c. 580 Ma Gaskiers Fm. of Newfoundland.

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