Zircon provenances provide paleogeographic constraints on models reconstructing the Paleoproterozoic Columbia Supercontinent

Linda M. Iaccheri, Leon Bagas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Paleoproterozoic orogens of the North Australian Craton are related to the assembly of the Columbia Supercontinent. The roles of the distinct orogens in the Paleoproterozoic craton amalgamation are poorly understood due to the lack of surface exposure. The age and isotopic systematics of detrital zircon grains hosted in Paleoproterozoic sedimentary sequences are used to unravel the geological history of the craton, in terms of paleogeography and tectonic setting. The oldest (Early Paleoproterozoic) metasedimentary units are characterised by detrital zircon ages peaking at ca. 2500 Ma. The zircon εHf values show large variations in the different orogens and range from −18 to +6. The overlaying youngest turbiditic units show minor accumulation of Archean detritus. Units from apparently different metasedimentary sequences have a major detrital zircon age population at ca. 1865 Ma, and a relatively restricted range of zircon εHf values between −7.3 and +2.6. The isotopic distinctiveness of the oldest units is attributed to local variations in the depositional environment, probably due to horst-graben architecture of the early Paleoproterozoic basin. The youngest turbiditic units blanketed this early horst-graben architecture and in part have a local provenance. Potential detritus sources include South Australian Craton, Dharwar Craton and Aravalli-Lesser Himalayan terrains in India, South China, and Madagascar (Africa). This finding indicates that these regions might have been connected before the Columbia Supercontinent was formed. The ubiquitous ca. 2500 Ma magmatic event records the assembly of these cratonic fragments in a previous supercontinent called Kernorland. In addition, the data do not support a proximity of the North Australian Craton with the North China Block, Western Laurentia (North America), and Kaapvaal Craton (Africa) during Columbia amalgamation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-266
Number of pages13
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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