Submarine volcanism and alteration in the Cambrian, northern Central Volcanic Complex, western Tasmania
Gifkins, CC (2001) Submarine volcanism and alteration in the Cambrian, northern Central Volcanic Complex, western Tasmania. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.
The Cambrian northern Central Volcanic Complex is a submarine volcanic succession within the
Mount Read Volcanics in western Tasmania, Australia. It comprises a relatively complex assemblage
of originally glassy and crystalline, rhyolitic to basaltic, lavas, syn-volcanic intrusions and syn-eruptive
volcaniclastic facies which host massive sulfide mineralisation. Diagenesis, hydrothermal alteration,
regional greenschist facies metamorphism and deformation have all modified the volcanic succession.
In this study, the integration of geological mapping, volcanic facies and structural analyses, and
lithogeochemistry is used to divide the northern Central Volcanic Complex jnto four distinctive
formations: the Sterling Valley Volcanics, Mount Black Formation, Kershaw Pumice Formation and
the Hercules Pumice Formation. These formations replace various informal stratigraphic units in the
northern Central Volcanic Complex: the Sterling Valley Volcanics, Mount Black Volcanics, and the
Footwall Pyroclastics and Host Rocks of the Rosebery-Hercules host sequence.
The Sterling Valley Volcanics are the oldest exposed part of the northern Central Volcanic
Complex. They are a thick succession (> 1.5 km thick) comprising dacitic to basaltic lavas and sills,
and polymictic mafic volcaniclastic facies. The polymictic mafic volcaniclastic facies were derived
from the resedimentation of locally available clasts of quench brecciated basalt, dacite, pillow fragments
and scoria. The Sterling Valley Volcanics represent the proximal to medial facies of a submarine
tholeiitic basaltic volcanic centre that formed during a period of extension and back-arc basin
development. Intercalated calc-alkaline dacites attest to coeval tholeiitic and calc-alkaline volcanism
during formation of part of the Sterling Valley Volcanics.
The Mount Black Formation (previously part of the Mount Black Volcanics) is a thick succession
(>1.6 Inn) of mainly massive, flow-banded and autobrecciated felsic lavas, domes, cryptodomes and
syn-volcanic sills. It represents the proximal facies of a calc-alkaline dacitic to rhyolitic, mainly effusive
and intrusive volcanic complex.
The Kershaw Pumice Formation consists of pumice-rich facies and associated rhyolitic and
dacitic lavas and sills that were previously assigned to the Mount Black Volcanics. The Hercules Pumice
Formation refers to the Footwall Pyroclastics and Host Rocks in the Rosebery-Hercules host sequence.
The Kershaw and Hercules Pumice Formations have been correlated based on lithofacies and
compositional similarities and structural interpretation. These formations (>800 m thick) comprise
successions of pumice breccia, pumice-rich sandstone and shard-rich siltstone, intercalated with pumicelithic
clast-rich breccia and sandstone, and rhyolitic and dacitic lavas and syn-volcanic intrusions. The
laterally extensive pumice-rich facies are the products of a large volume (>24 km3), rhyolitic explosive
eruption and were deposited proximal to the vent from water-supported density current and suspension.
Pumiceous hyaloclastite and peperite are associated with the margins of rhyolitic lavas and sills that
flowed over or intruded wet, unconsolidated pumice breccia, pumice-rich sandstone, shard-rich siltstone
and black mudstone. Pumice-lithic clast-rich breccia and sandstone were generated by resedimentation
of unconsolidated felsic hyaloclastite, autobreccia and pumice-rich deposits.
The Kershaw and Hercules Pumice Formations and the Mount Black Formation are interpreted
to be the explosive and effusive products of a single calc-alkaline felsic volcanic centre. Tholeiitic
basalts of the Henty Dyke Swarm subsequently intruded the northern Central Volcanic Complex.
These dykes are compositionally similar to tholeiitic basalts of the Sterling Valley Volcanics and suggest
that extension-related, mantle-derived magmatism was reactivated after formation of the Central
The Hangingwall Volcaniclastics, previously considered part of the northern Central Volcanic
Complex, are now correlated with the White Spur Formation and thus this unit is included in the
Dundas Group. This new stratigraphy for the northern Central Volcanic Complex has significant
implications for VHMS exploration in the Mount Read Volcanics. The correlation of the Kershaw
and Hercules Pumice Formations suggests that there is potential for the Host Rocks to the Rosebery
and Hercules ore deposits (Host-rock member) to be repeated east of the Mount Black Fault.
The stratigraphy of the northern Central Volcanic Complex is disrupted and repeated by Middle
to Late Cambrian faults and Devonian faults and folds, resulting in substantial thickening of the
Central Volcanic Complex between Rosebery and Tullah.
Metamorphosed diagenetic and hydrothermal alteration facies in the northern Central Volcanic
Complex have been discriminated using a combination of alteration mineralogy, overprinting
relationships, texture, distribution, intensity and whole-rock geochemistry.
Alteration facies that are interpreted to be the metamorphosed equivalents of diagenetic clays
and zeolites are regionally extensive and overprinted by the regional Devonian cleavage. Although
widespread, locally their distributions are patchy and their intensities are variable, reflecting the
complexity of the original volcanic textures. Thin films of sericite, carbonate and chlorite-sericitehematite
replaced clays that coated original glassy surfaces at the onset of diagenesis. Feldspar-quartzsericite,
chlorhe-sericite and chlorite-sericire-hematite alteration facies replaced zeolites and clays that
filled pore space and altered glass, prior to and synchronous with diagenetic compaction. In pumice rich
facies, a bedding-parallel stylolitic foliation reflects the dissolution of glass during compaction.
Fiamme are interpreted to be the product of diagenetic alteration and compaction of pumice clasts.
Development of the final diagenetic alteration facies, chlorite-epidote, commenced after compaction
and continued during Devonian regional metamorphism. Diagenetic alteration involved significant
mineralogical and textural changes but only minor changes in composition. These changes are consistent
with the interaction of rhyolitic and basaltic glass with seawater during burial. In contrast, alteration
facies interpreted to be hydrothermal are local in distribution, cross-cut stratigraphic boundaries and
involved significant changes in texture, mineralogy and composition.
Diagenetic alteration in the northern Central Volcanic Complex was widespread, reached high temperature
diagenetic mineral assemblages (albite-quartz-sericite and chlorite-epidote) and formed
thick (>2 km) alteration zones. These alteration zones reflect a high-grade diagenetic alteration system
and elevated geothermal gradient within the very thick proximal, submarine succession dominated by
glassy volcanic facies.
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD)|
|Additional Information:||Copyright the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).|
|Deposited By:||Ms June Pongratz|
|Deposited On:||21 Jul 2009 09:45|
|Last Modified:||04 Sep 2012 10:28|
|ePrint Statistics:||View statistics for this ePrint|
Repository Staff Only: item control page