Late Miocene volcanic sequences in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica: products of glaciovolcanic eruptions under different thermal regimes

Late Miocene (c. 13-5 Ma) volcanic sequences of the Hallett Volcanic Province (HVP) crop out along > 250 km of western Ross Sea coast in northern Victoria Land. Eight primary volcanic and six sedimentary lithofacies have been identified, and they are organised into at least five different sequence architectures as a consequence of different combinations of eruptive and/or depositional conditions. The volcanoes were erupted in association with a Miocene glacial cover and the sequences are overwhelmingly glaciovolcanic. The commonest and most representative are products of mafic aa lava-fed deltas, a type of glaciovolcanic sequence that has not been described before. It is distinguished by (1) a subaerially emplaced relatively thin caprock of aa lavas lying on and passing down-dip into (2) a thicker association of chaotic to crudely bedded hyaloclastite breccias, water-chilled lava sheets and irregular lava masses, collectively called lobe-hyaloclastite. A second distinctive sequence type present is characterised by water-cooled lavas and associated sedimentary lithofacies (diamictite (probably glacigenic) and fluvial sands and gravels) similar to some mafic glaciovolcanic sheet-like sequences (see Smellie, Earth-Science Reviews, 74, 241-268, 2008), but including (for the first time) examples of likely sheet-like sequences with felsic compositions. Other sequence types in the HVP are minor and include tuff cones, cinder cones and a single ice-marginal lacustrine sequence. The glacial thermal regime varied from polar, characterised by sequences lacking glacial erosion, glacigenic sediments or evidence for free water, to temperate or sub-polar for sequences in which all of these features are conspicuously developed.


Publication status:
Authors: Smellie, John L., Rocchi, S., Armienti, P.

1 January, 2011
Bulletin of Volcanology / 73
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