Abstract

New Re-Os dates obtained from black shales overlying the Sturtian and Areyonga glacial deposits in southern and central Australia, respectively, challenge the prevailing consensus of three Neoproterozoic glaciations. The end of Sturtian glaciation in the Adelaide Rift Complex is constrained by a Re-Os date of 643.0 ± 2.4 Ma from the overlying Tindelpina Shale Member (basal Tapley Hill Formation). A Re-Os date of 657.2 ± 5.4 Ma for the basal Aralka Formation constrains the age of the underlying Areyonga glacial deposits in the Amadeus Basin. The Re-Os ages show that the Sturtian and Areyonga glacial deposits are younger than other radiometrically dated (ca. 685–750 Ma) Neoproterozoic glacial intervals previously regarded as possible correlatives. Thus, the “Sturtian” ice age was markedly diachronous, and/or there was more than one “Sturtian”-type glaciation. Some Neoproterozoic glacial deposits may represent the products of regional and diachronous glaciation associated with protracted breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia rather than “snowball” or “slushball” Earth ice ages.

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