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The upper Mesozoic to lower Cenozoic sequence in the region of James Ross Island is the only exposed marine succession of that age in Antarctica. The sequence makes up part of the fill of the James Ross Basin and includes: (1) an upper Jurassic mudstone-tuff sequence, the Nordenskjöld Formation; (2) a Lower to Upper Cretaceous conglomerate-sandstone-mudstone-tuff assemblage, the Gustav Group and equivalents; (3) an Upper Cretaceous to Paleocene poorly consolidated sand, silt, mud and tuff sequence, the Marambio Group and equivalents; and (4) an Eocene sequence of weakly consolidated, nonvolcanic fine sands and silts—the La Meseta Formation. Sedimentary facies include proximal submarine fans, shelf settings, and deltaic environments.

Sea-floor anomaly data from the Pacific Ocean suggest that development of Upper Mesozoic to Cenozoic fore-arc, magmatic arc, and back-arc terrains of the Peninsula resulted from the subduction of the Phoenix Plate until the early Tertiary, and, after reorganization of spreading centers in Late Cretaceous time, subduction of the Aluk Plate. Strata in the James Ross Island region constitute the sedimentary and volcanic fill of an ensialic back-arc basin developed on the Weddell Sea flank of the Antarctic Peninsula. Broad correlations can be made between the strata and evolution of the James Ross Basin, the tectonic and magmatic history of the peninsula, and plate subduction.

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