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Abstract

The classical S–I–A-type granites from the Lachlan Orogen, SE Australia, formed as a tectonic end-member of the accretionary orogenic spectrum, the Paleozoic Tasmanides. The sequence of S- to I- to A-type granite is repeated at least three times. All the granites are syn-extensional, formed in a dominantly back-arc setting behind a single, stepwise-retreating arc system between 530 and 230 Ma. Peralkaline granites are rare. Systematic S–I–A progressions indicate the progressive dilution of an old crustal component as magmatism evolved from arc (S-type) to proximal back-arc (I-type) to distal back-arc (A-type) magmatism. The alkaline and peralkaline A-type Younger granites of Nigeria were generally hotter and drier than the Lachlan A-type granites and were emplaced into an anhydrous Precambrian basement during intermittent intracontinental rifting. This geodynamic environment contrasts with the distal back-arc setting of the Lachlan A-type granites, where magmatism migrated rapidly across the orogen. Tectonic discrimination diagrams are inappropriate for the Lachlan granites, placing them in the wrong settings. Only the peralkaline Narraburra suite of the Lachlan Orogen fits the genuine ‘within-plate’ setting of the Nigerian A-type granites. Such discrimination diagrams require re-evaluation in the light of an improved modern understanding of tectonic processes, particularly the role of extensional tectonism and its geodynamic drivers.

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