Abstract

Granitoids associated with the Neoproterozoic–early Paleozoic Ross orogeny are extensively exposed in the Dry Valleys region of southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, affording an exceptional opportunity to gain insight into the temporal and spatial scales of continental arc magmatism. Samples spanning 150 km along strike and 50 km across strike were selected for isotopic and geochemical analysis. Zircon U-Pb geochronology and the first Hf isotope data for Dry Valleys granitoids, coupled with whole-rock elemental data, reveal mixing between enriched lithospheric mantle and Precambrian crustal components and indicate that the principal phase of magmatism in the Dry Valleys area was restricted to a period of 23 m.y., from ca. 515 to 492 Ma. This relatively short period of magmatism contrasts with other segments of the Ross orogen, in which magmatism spanned greater than 100 m.y. Most calc-alkaline intrusions spanned 515–500 Ma, while postkinematic granitoids with alkali-calcic geochemical signatures spanned 505–492 Ma, indicating a transitional shift to an overall extensional tectonic regime. Zircon εHf(i) values range between −0.3 and –7.2, with two-stage depleted-mantle model ages ranging from 1.5 to 1.9 Ga. Low εHf(i) values in mafic samples are consistent with derivation from an enriched subcontinental lithospheric mantle source, while the large-volume granitic intrusions show evidence for increasing assimilation of old crust over time. A broadening of the εHf(i) range to more negative values in the younger intrusions may reflect crustal thickening or underplating of fertile continental material into the source region of the arc.

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