Abstract

Recent detailed mapping, section logging and an improved understanding of the geological evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula provide a robust framework for an improved lithostratigraphic subdivision of the Latady Basin, eastern Ellsworth Land. Within the Latady Basin we recognize two main groups: Ellsworth Land Volcanic Group and Latady Group. The focus of this paper is the Latady Group, which is formally subdivided into five formations: Anderson Formation, Witte Formation, Hauberg Mountains Formation, Cape Zumberge Formation and Nordsim Formation. Middle Jurassic, shallow marine deposits of the Anderson Formation are overlain by quiet anoxic deposits assigned to the Witte Formation. The start of the Late Jurassic is marked by the deposition of higher energy deposits of the Hauberg Mountains Formation, subdivided into three members (Long Ridge, Mount Hirman and Novocin members) that reflect varying lithological and environmental characteristics. Thermal subsidence during the latest Jurassic led to deposition of the basinal Cape Zumberge Formation, while uplift of an active continental arc along the Antarctic Peninsula led to deposition of the terrestrial Nordsim Formation in the latest Jurassic to earliest Cretaceous. The evolution of the Latady Basin reflects early extension during Gondwana break-up, from the Early Jurassic to earliest Cretaceous, and is consistent with a shift in the underlying forces driving extension in the Weddell Sea area from intracontinental rifting related to a mantle plume, to active margin forces in response to subduction.

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