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Abstract

The record of two Neoproterozoic glaciations in South Australia has been known for about a century. The earlier glaciation, of Sturtian age, is represented by the Yudnamutana Subgroup and is characterized by widespread diamictites with both intrabasinal and extrabasinal clasts, some locally faceted and striated. Associated facies include shallow-water sandstone, bedded and laminated siltstone with lonestones and dropstones, and sedimentary ironstones (mainly ferruginous siltstone and diamictite). Proximal settings adjacent to the Curnamona Province display massive basement-derived conglomerate and gigantic basement megaclasts (up to hundreds of metres across).

Sturtian glaciogenic sediments of the Yudnamutana Subgroup unconformably overlie a variety of older rock units, including crystalline basement near basin margins and uppermost Burra Group sediments in the depocentre, and were deposited both in shallow marine shelf environments and in tectonically active rift basins encircling the Curnamona Province, with corresponding increases in total thickness from 100–300 m to more than 5 km.

Recent U–Pb zircon SHRIMP dating of a thin volcaniclastic layer indicates that the waning stages of the Sturtian glaciation occurred at c. 660 Ma. Unlike the deposits of the younger Elatina glaciation, the Yudnamutana Subgroup has so far not yielded reliable palaeomagnetic data.

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