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Stratigraphy, volcanology and sedimentology of the Cambrian Tyndall Group, Mount Read volcanics, western Tasmania


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White, M 1997 , 'Stratigraphy, volcanology and sedimentology of the Cambrian Tyndall Group, Mount Read volcanics, western Tasmania', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The Tyndall Group is a Cambrian, dominantly submarine, volcano-sedimentary
succession that occurs in the upper part of the Mount Read Volcanics, western Tasmania.
The Tyndall Group comprises a relatively complex assemblage of lithofacies including
crystal- and lithic-rich volcaniclastic breccia, conglomerate and sandstone, welded
ignimbrite, rhyolite lava and/or intrusions, laminated mudstone and carbonate. Problems
with the previously defined stratigraphic nomenclature have prompted development of a
new stratigraphic scheme, based on detailed mapping and facies analysis of major Tyndall
Group exposures in the central Mount Read Volcanics. The Tyndall Group is herein
divided into two formations, the Comstock Formation and the overlying Zig Zag Hill
Formation. The Comstock Formation is further subdivided into the Lynchford Member
and the overlying Mount Julia Member. This stratigraphic scheme is based on regional
lithological variations, which largely reflect different provenance characteristics.
Volcanogenic sedimentary lithofacies are abundant in the Tyndall Group and were largely
deposited from low- to high-density turbidity currents, implying that the depositional
setting was dominantly subaqueous and below storm wave base. An in situ limestone unit
containing abundant shallow marine fossils (Jago et al. 1972) occurs at the base of the
Comstock Formation at Comstock, and indicates that at least part of the group was
deposited in water less than a few hundred metres deep. Sources of the volcaniclastic
components in the Tyndall Group are not exposed or have been eroded away. However,
syn-eruptive volcaniclastic facies in the Comstock Formation provide a record of the
character and setting of volcanic activity in the source. The high proportion of juvenile
pyroclasts in these facies (e.g. crystals, crystal fragments, shards, pumice) indicates the
occurrence of voluminous explosive magmatic and/or phreatomagmatic eruptions in the
source, and that the source areas were in subaerial to shallow marine environments.
Pyroclasts were probably transported to the marine setting by pyroclastic flows which
transformed into water-supported sediment gravity flows after sufficient interaction with
water, forming crystal-rich volcaniclastic sandstone. Occurrences of welded ignimbrite in
the Comstock Formation represent relicts of primary deposits from pyroclastic flows that
did not interact with water. Although the welded ignimbrites could be deposits from hot,
gas-supported submarine pyroclastic flows, two other emplacement mechanisms are
suggested: 1) a thick delta of crystal-rich volcaniclastic sand, generated by interaction of
voluminous subaerial pyroclastic flows with sea water, caused temporary shallowing and
allowed subsequent pyroclastic flows to deposit welded ignimbrite across the shallowly submerged (or sub aerial?) top of the delta; 2) large allochthonous blocks of welded
ignimbrite were transported in giant submarine sediment gravity flows, forming units of
ignimbrite-block-bearing breccia. Rhyolite lava dome complexes also built up on the sea
floor during the Comstock Formation stage. The lower part of the Comstock Formation
(Lynchford Member) has an andesitic to dacitic provenance and the overlying Mount Julia
Member is more silicic in character. Distinctive bedding-parallel alteration banding in the
crystal-rich volcaniclastic sandstone facies is thought to have originated during diagenetic
alteration and compaction of the vitric-rich ash matrix. In contrast to the Comstock
Formation, the overlying Zig Zag Hill Formation records post-eruptive erosion and
reworking of the subaerial to shallow marine source areas, resulting in the influx of wellrounded,
polymict, epiclastic and reworked pyroclastic aggregates to the marine setting.
The palaeogeographic setting for the Tyndall Group comprises a subaerial to shallow
marine volcanic terrain adjacent to the sea. The central North Island and offshore Bay of
Plenty in New Zealand, and the Grenada Basin and Lesser Antilles arc, are considered to
be two modem geographic and volcanic analogues. The source magmas for the Comstock
Formation were probably derived from melting of Proterozoic crust (Crawford and Berry
1992), and the Zig Zag Hill Formation probably formed in response to tectonic uplift in
the source. In summary, the Tyndall Group is the submarine record of active volcanism
(Comstock Formation) and subsequent erosion (Zig Zag Hill Formation) of a subaerial to
shallow marine volcanic terrain that is not preserved.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:White, M
Keywords: Geology, Sedimentation and deposition, Geology, Stratigraphic, Volcanism
Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1997. Includes bibliographical references

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