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Abstract

C, O and Sr isotope geochemistry of high-grade marbles from the Lützow-Holm Complex, East Antarctica, has given clues on the depositional ages and post-depositional alterations. Dolomitic and calcitic marbles occur as thin layers with varying thickness (up to 100 m) in several outcrops in eastern Dronning Maud Land, most of which underwent post-depositional geochemical alterations. In particular, the Sr and O isotope alterations are extensive, with 87Sr/86Sr(550 Ma) ratios as high as 0.758 and δ18O values as low as −5‰. These data suggest that multiple stages of fluid–rock interaction processes during diagenesis, prograde to peak and retrograde metamorphic events have altered the depositional isotopic signatures. However, some of the marble layers, exceptionally, preserve pre-metamorphic geochemical characteristics, such as low Sr isotope ratios, high δ18O and δ13C values, and well-equilibrated unaltered trace and rare earth element patterns. Lowest 87Sr/86Sr isotopic ratios of 0.7066 and 0.7053 with high δ13C and δ18O values suggest an apparent age of deposition around 730–830 Ma, although total geochemical resetting of carbonates by seawater of this age cannot be ruled out. The apparent depositional ages are consistent with carbonate deposition in the ‘Mozambique Ocean’ that separated East and West Gondwana.

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