The glacial succession of Sturtian age in South Australia: the Yudnamutana Subgroup
Published:January 01, 2011
Wolfgang V. Preiss, Victor A. Gostin, David M. Mckirdy, Paul M. Ashley, George E. Williams, Philip W. Schmidt, 2011. "The glacial succession of Sturtian age in South Australia: the Yudnamutana Subgroup", The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations, Emmanuelle Arnaud, Galen P. Halverson, Graham Shields-Zhou
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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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The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations
In recent years, interest in Neoproterozoic glaciations has grown as their pivotal role in Earth system evolution has become increasingly clear. One of the main goals of the IGCP Project No. 512 was to produce a synthesis of newly available information on Neoproterozoic successions worldwide similar in format to Hambrey & Harland’s (1981) Earth’s pre-Pleistocene Glacial Record. This Memoir therefore consists of a series of overview chapters followed by site-specific chapters. The overview chapters cover key topics including the history of research on Neoproterozoic glaciations, identification of glacial deposits, chemostratigraphic techniques and datasets, palaeomagnetism, biostratigraphy, geochronology and climate modelling. The site specific chapters for 60 successions worldwide include reviews of the history of research on these rocks and up-to-date syntheses of the structural framework, tectonic setting, palaeomagnetic and geochronological constraints, physical, biological, and chemical stratigraphy, and descriptions of the glaciogenic and associated strata, including economic deposits.