The Butcher Ridge igneous complex, Antarctica, is an ∼6000 km3 hypabyssal silicic intrusion containing rhythmically layered glassy rocks. Baddeleyite U-Pb geochronologic analysis on a sample of the Butcher Ridge igneous complex yielded an age of ca. 182.4 Ma, which confirms that it was emplaced synchronously with the Ferrar large igneous province. Rocks of the Butcher Ridge igneous complex vary from basaltic andesite to rhyolite, and so the inferred volume of the Butcher Ridge igneous complex makes it the most voluminous silicic component of the Ferrar large igneous province. Major-element, trace-element, and isotopic data combined with binary mixing, assimilation-fractional crystallization (AFC), and energy-constrained AFC models are consistent with formation of Butcher Ridge igneous complex silicic rocks by contamination of mafic Ferrar parental magma(s) with local Paleozoic plutonic basement rocks. Field and petrographic observations and evidence for alkali ion exchange suggest that the kilometer-long, meter-thick enigmatic rhythmic layering formed as a result of secondary hydration and devitrification of volcanic glass along parallel fracture networks. The regularity and scale of fracturing/layering imply a thermally driven process that occurred during shallow emplacement and supercooling of the intrusion in the upper crust. We suggest that layering observed in the Butcher Ridge igneous complex is analogous to that reported from terrestrial and Martian cryptodomes, and therefore it is an ideal locality at which to study layering processes in igneous bodies.

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