Abstract

The Byers Group, exposed on Byers Peninsula, western Livingston Island, Antarctica, comprises a mudstone dominated sequence at least 1 km thick which accumulated in a marginal fore-arc environment. The basal, 105 m thick Anchorage Formation consists of radiolarian mudstones and tuff-rich interbeds of Kimmeridgian-Tithonian age; it correlates with Upper Jurassic organic-rich mudstone units throughout the proto-South Atlantic region. The succeeding 244 m thick Devils Point Formation marks the first major pulse of coarse volcaniclastic material into the basin. It is in turn followed by the extensive President Beaches Formation, comprising several hundred metres of finely laminated mudstones with at least two major sandstone intercalations. Molluscan and dinoflagellate cyst taxa indicate a Berriasian age and comparatively nearshore depositional environment for this unit. An unconformity of late Berriasian or early Valanginian age separates the three lowest formations from the Chester Cone Formation. The fine-grained Sealer Hill Member at the base of the latter is dated as Valanginian, and grades up into several hundred metres of pebbly sandstones and pebble-granule conglomerates. These mark the second major volcaniclastic pulse and may be of Hauterivian or even younger age. Definition of this major new group will facilitate more precise Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous stratigraphical correlations within the southern South America-Scotia arc-Antarctic Peninsula region. It will also aid our understanding of the critical palaeogeographical transition in the northern Antarctic Peninsula from anoxic basin to active magmatic arc.

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