skip to main content

Title: Detrital zircon geochronology and provenance of glaciogenic strata of the Middle Carboniferous San Eduardo Formation, Calingasta-Uspallata Basin, NW Argentina
The Calingasta-Uspallata Basin preserves a near continuous sequence of glaciomarine deposition from the middle to late Carboniferous, represented by five separate formations. Correlation between these formations have been achieved using index marine invertebrates, which also provides some implications for max-depositional ages. However, no isotopic dating analyses have been sought in this basin to further constrain the age of deposition or provide a source of provenance for sediments. The San Eduardo formation near the El Leoncito Astronomical Complex, San Juan Province, Argentina, was deposited within the Calingasta—Upsallata Basin on the western margin of the Proto-precordillera during the late Mississippian to early Pennsylvanian. This succession preserves a complete sequence of proximal glaciomarine, nearshore, and fluvial systems deposited at the beginning of the late Paleozoic ice age. Samples were collected from various stages throughout the sequence for detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology to determine sediment provenance as a way of isolating different glacier sources. Results indicate multiple stages of glaciation, with at least three distinct source areas. The lowermost stage includes locally sourced basement and recycled underlying Silurian, represented by similar Famatinian (500-460 mya) and Grenville peaks (1250-1000 mya) peaks, where the Grenville source likely originating from the Western Sierras Pampeans, which would represent a breaching of the Proto-precordillera from the east. The middle stage shows a population distinct unto itself, with a peak during the Mississippian (330-360 mya). A volcanic island arc was situated along the Andean margin during the late Paleozoic, likely resulting in the influx of Carboniferous aged volcanic sediments. The lower most stage shows relations based on K-S results to formations within the Paganzo basin to the northeast, likely serving as the outwash of these distant glaciers through braided fluvial systems. This study will expand upon current chronologic knowledge within the Calingasta-Uspallata basin and will be supported by sandstone petrology and mineralogic composition, pebble counts and composition of dropstones.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1729219 1559231
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    The provenance of sandstones deposited in the late Paleozoic Tepuel-Genoa Basin is analyzed in this paper. Five sections were sampled in Esquel, Sierra de Tepuel, Sierra de Tecka, El Molle, and Río Genoa areas for petrographic and geochemical studies. The sandstones in the Tepuel-Genoa Basin are dominated by feldspathic litharenites and litharenites, showing lithic fragments of volcanic and sedimentary rocks in the Valle Chico Formation and medium-to high-grade metamorphic rock clasts in the rest of the units. Detrital modes of seventy-five sandstones samples from the Valle Chico, Pampa de Tepuel, Moj´on de Hierro, and Río Genoa formations were counted and analyzed. Seven modal components have discriminant value for identifying provenance areas (Qm, Qi, Lv, Lmm-h, Lm-Lp, Lm, Qpm). These modal components allow identification of three petrofacies: 1. Quartzose-lithic (Qm69Lv2Lm29), 2. Quartzose (Qm89Lv4Lm7) and 3. Volcanic-sedimentary (Qm60Lv38Lm1). The quartzose-lithic petrofacies is mainly composed of monocrystalline quartz, medium- and high-grade metamorphic clasts and polycrystalline quartz with cataclastic texture, this assemblage is interpreted as being derived from the crystalline rocks that form the Deseado Massif. The quartzose petrofacies is composed of monocrystalline quartz with scarce contributions of metamorphic clasts and traces of volcanic fragments; the provenance area is ascribed to sedimentary terrains, which most likely covered part of the Deseado Massif. The volcanic-sedimentary petrofacies is comprised of volcanic (acidic and intermediate rocks) and sedimentary (sandstone and mudstone) clasts, with discrete amounts of quartz grains with idiomorph shapes and embayments. This assemblage may correspond to material supply from the Devonian-Early Carboniferous accretionary complex developed in Chile or the unroofing of the western volcanic arc located in the central part of Patagonia. The validity of the three defined petrofacies was evaluated using Principal Component Analysis and triangular compositional diagrams; both methods show good separation and lack of overlap between the three petrofacies. Major (Si, Al, Fe, Na, K) and trace-REE elements (Zr, Th, Sc, Hf) were used to improve the petrographic information. The relation SiO2 against K2O/Na2O indicates that the Pampa de Tepuel and the Moj´on de Hierro formations correspond to a passive margin, while the Valle Chico and Río Genoa formations represent different types of active continental margins. The Th/Sc and Zr/Sc ratios and the Th-Hf-Co distributions indicate that the sandstones of the Tepuel Group were formed from rocks compatibles with the average composition of the upper continental crust. 
    more » « less
  2. As atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and temperatures increase with modern climate change, ancient hothouse periods become a focal point for understanding ecosystem function under similar conditions. The early Eocene exhibited high temperatures, high CO2 levels, and similar tectonic plate configuration as today, so it has been invoked as an analog to modern climate change. During the early Eocene, the greater Green River Basin (GGRB) of southwestern Wyoming was covered by an ancient hypersaline lake (Lake Gosiute; Green River Formation) and associated fluvial and floodplain systems (Wasatch and Bridger formations). The volcaniclastic Bridger Formation was deposited by an inland delta that drained from the northwest into freshwater Lake Gosiute and is known for its vast paleontological assemblages. Using this well-preserved basin deposited during a period of tectonic and paleoclimatic interest, we employ multiple proxies to study trends in provenance, parent material, weathering, and climate throughout 1 million years. The Blue Rim escarpment exposes approximately 100 m of the lower Bridger Formation, which includes plant and mammal fossils, solitary paleosol profiles, and organic remains suitable for geochemical analyses, as well as ash beds and volcaniclastic sandstone beds suitable for radioisotopic dating. New 40Ar/39Ar ages from the middle and top of the Blue Rim escarpment constrain the age of its strata to ∼ 49.5–48.5 Myr ago during the “falling limb” of the early Eocene Climatic Optimum. We used several geochemical tools to study provenance and parent material in both the paleosols and the associated sediments and found no change in sediment input source despite significant variation in sedimentary facies and organic carbon burial. We also reconstructed environmental conditions, including temperature, precipitation (both from paleosols), and the isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2 from plants found in the floral assemblages. Results from paleosol-based reconstructions were compared to semi-co-temporal reconstructions made using leaf physiognomic techniques and marine proxies. The paleosol-based reconstructions (near the base of the section) of precipitation (608–1167 mm yr−1) and temperature (10.4 to 12.0 ∘C) were within error of, although lower than, those based on floral assemblages, which were stratigraphically higher in the section and represented a highly preserved event later in time. Geochemistry and detrital feldspar geochronology indicate a consistent provenance for Blue Rim sediments, sourcing predominantly from the Idaho paleoriver, which drained the active Challis volcanic field. Thus, because there was neither significant climatic change nor significant provenance change, variation in sedimentary facies and organic carbon burial likely reflected localized geomorphic controls and the relative height of the water table. The ecosystem can be characterized as a wet, subtropical-like forest (i.e., paratropical) throughout the interval based upon the floral humidity province and Holdridge life zone schemes. Given the mid-paleolatitude position of the Blue Rim escarpment, those results are consistent with marine proxies that indicate that globally warm climatic conditions continued beyond the peak warm conditions of the early Eocene Climatic Optimum. The reconstructed atmospheric δ13C value (−5.3 ‰ to −5.8 ‰) closely matches the independently reconstructed value from marine microfossils (−5.4 ‰), which provides confidence in this reconstruction. Likewise, the isotopic composition reconstructed matches the mantle most closely (−5.4 ‰), agreeing with other postulations that warming was maintained by volcanic outgassing rather than a much more isotopically depleted source, such as methane hydrates. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract A tephra-rich cherty-clayey Famennian succession within the major Brzeźnica olistostrome in the Bardo Mountains, Central Sudetes, SW Poland, preserves a record of the lost ocean later incorporated into the Variscan orogenic belt. Fluctuating but mostly oligotrophic regimes and low primary production levels were influenced by weak up-welling below the perennial oxygen minimum zone, which controlled the interplay between biosiliceous and siliciclastic deposition in the oceanic basin, with episodic oxygen deficiency. The Hangenberg Black Shale has been identified in this oceanic setting based on its characteristics described worldwide (including mercury enrichments). A tectonic uplift of the sediment source area near the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary, recorded in the distinguishing provenance signal of old continental crust, was paired with a global transgression, anoxia, and volcanic episode in an interglacial interval. Assuming paleogeographic affinity with the Bavarian facies of the Saxothuringian terrane, we interpret the allochthonous sediments as part of an accretionary prism that was gravitationally redeposited into the late orogenic basin in front of advancing Variscan nappes. The oceanic basin parental to the Bardo pelagic succession is therefore thought to represent a tract of the waning Saxothuringian Ocean in the Peri-Gondwanan paleogeographic domain that was eventually subducted beneath the Brunovistulian margin of Laurussia. The sediments of the Bardo Ocean basin also include a distal record of Famennian explosive volcanic activity that was likely related to a continental magmatic arc whose remnants are preserved as the Vrbno Group of the East Sudetes. 
    more » « less
  4. The location, longevity, and geographic extent of late Paleozoic ice centers in west-central Gondwana remain ambiguous. Paleovalleys on the Rio Grande do Sul Shield of southernmost Brazil have previously been interpreted as fjords carved by outlet glaciers that originated in Africa and emptied into the Paraná Basin (Brazil). In this study, the sedimentology, stratigraphy, and provenance of sediments infilling two such paleovalleys (the Mariana Pimentel and Leão paleovalleys) were examined in order to test the hypothesis that an ice center over present day Namibia drained across southernmost Brazil during the Carboniferous and Permian. Contrary to previous findings, the facies assemblage from within the paleovalleys is inconsistent with a fjord setting and no clear evidence for glaciation was observed. The facies show a transition from a non-glacial lacustrine/estuarine environment, to a fluvial-dominated setting, and finally to a restricted marine/estuarine environment. Detrital zircon results present a single population of Neoproterozoic ages (c. 800–550 Ma) from the paleovalley fill that matches the ages of underlying igneous and metamorphic basement (Dom Feliciano Belt) and is incongruent with African sources that contain abundant older (Mesoproterozoic, Paleoproterozoic, and Archean) zircons. Furthermore, results suggest that the formation of the paleovalleys and the deposition of their fill were controlled by the reactivation of Neoproterozoic basement structures during the Carboniferous and Permian. The lack of evidence for glaciation in these paleovalleys highlights the need for detailed studies of supposed late Paleozoic glacial deposits. These results are supportive of the hypothesis that well-established glacial sediments on the Rio Grande do Sul Shield (southern margin of the Paraná Basin) may be the product of a separate lobe extending north across Uruguay, rather than a single, massive ice sheet draining west from Africa. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Cenozoic sedimentary rocks of the intermontane Bagua Basin record the Andean orogenic history of northern Peru at ~4–7°S. The northern Peruvian Andes define the northern termination of the Central Andes and are comprised of a narrow, low‐elevation orogen relative to the rest of the Central Andes. New stratigraphic and sedimentologic field observations, subsidence analysis, and detrital zircon provenance analysis enable reconstruction of the regional tectonic history. Late Cretaceous to Paleocene detrital zircon U‐Pb age spectra from the Fundo El Triunfo and Rentema formations reveal active volcanism in the Western Cordillera as early as ~80 Ma and early exhumation of Mesozoic rocks in a nascent Marañon Fold‐Thrust Belt. Eocene fluvial deposits of the Cajaruro Formation record a progressive increase in shortening and volcanism in the Western Cordillera. The upper Eocene–middle Miocene fluvial succession of the Sambimera Formation records deposition in a proximal foredeep setting. Sambimera deposits contain syndepositional detrital zircon U‐Pb age populations that reveal a major Cenozoic magmatic source in the west. An erosive boundary separates the Sambimera from the overlying San Antonio Formation. The San Antonio Formation was deposited in an intermontane basin associated with uplift of the Eastern Cordillera at these latitudes. These results highlight a foreland progression of fold‐thrust deformation, with shortening concentrated in the Western Cordillera from latest Cretaceous to middle Miocene time. We suggest that the late Miocene transition to intermontane deposition in the Bagua Basin marks initial exhumation during shortening of the Eastern Cordillera in northern Peru.

    more » « less