The geology and geochemistry of the Straumsnutane Formation, Straumsnutane, western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica and its tectonic setting on the western margin of the Kalahari Craton: additional evidence linking it to the Umkondo Large Igneous Province
Neo G. Moabi, Geoffrey H. Grantham, James Roberts, Petrus Le Roux, 2017. "The geology and geochemistry of the Straumsnutane Formation, Straumsnutane, western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica and its tectonic setting on the western margin of the Kalahari Craton: additional evidence linking it to the Umkondo Large Igneous Province", Crustal Evolution of India and Antarctica: The Supercontinent Connection, N. C. Pant, S. Dasgupta
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The study focuses on whole-rock major and trace element chemistry, as well as radiogenic isotope data from the Straumsnutane Formation lavas in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. The data are compared with those from the Espungabera Formation lavas of central Mozambique, published data from the Borgmassivet intrusions in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica and other intrusions in southern Africa which are correlated with the approximately 1100 Ma Umkondo Igneous Province.
Petrographical studies indicate that the Straumsnutane lavas are dominated by plagioclase, clinopyroxene, amphibole and Fe–Ti oxides. Secondary mineral assemblages include chlorite, pumpellyite, white mica and epidote, indicating that the Straumsnutane lavas have been metamorphosed under low-grade greenschist-facies conditions followed by retrograde prehnite–pumpellyite-facies conditions.
The chemical data for the Straumsnutane Formation lavas are dominantly tholeiitic and basaltic andesitic in composition, and indicate that they are of continental origin.
Trace element ratio values for the Straumsnutane lavas suggest that fractional crystallization and/or crustal contamination have been significant processes in the magma evolution. Low to high 87Sr/86Sr isotopic ratios (0.682–0.720) are evident from the Straumsnutane lavas suggesting varying degrees of hydrothermal alteration/low-grade metamorphism. The calculated 87Sr/86Sr values and the negative ɛNd values at 1100 Ma suggest contamination by older continental crust during the genesis of the Straumsnutane Formation lavas. Isotopic modelling shows that the Straumsnutane lavas may have been formed from the mixing of a mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB)-like source with approximately 4% of older crust similar to the Messica Granite Gneiss of central Mozambique. Comparison of the geochemical data and petrography of the Straumsnutane lavas with those of the Espungabera Formation lavas of central Mozambique shows that they are similar. Additional comparisons show that the Straumsnutane lavas are geochemically similar to rock units of the Umkondo Igneous Province in southern Africa. It is therefore concluded that the Straumsnutane Formation lavas also formed part of the Umkondo Igneous Province.
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The Proterozoic aeon involved at least three major continental readjustments. India and Antarctica appear in most models of supercontinent reconstructions, but their relative position has been the subject of debate. High-resolution petrological and geochronological data, especially from the Proterozoic mobile belts, provide the principal means of resolving this issue. The ice-covered nature of Antarctica allows only limited access to the rocks, and then only in coastal tracts, so detailed studies in more accessible Proterozoic terrains in India assume added significance.
This volume, a follow-up to the XII International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Science, Goa (a SCAR symposium), provides new data from selected locations in east Antarctica (Enderby Land and Dronning Maud Land) and from India, including the Eastern Ghats Mobile Belt (EGMB), Chota Nagpur Gneissic Complex, the Khasi Hills and the Aravalli–Delhi Mobile Belt. The presented geochronological data, constrained by petrological studies, are expected to provide new insights, especially into the EGMB–east Antarctica connection and the rate of continental readjustments in the post-Rodinia break-up.