The stratigraphy and geochronology of Adelaide Island

The Mesozoic-Cenozoic volcanic arc of the Antarctic Peninsula is represented on Adelaide Island by a sedimentary and volcanic succession intruded by plutons. 40Ar-39 Ar step-heating age spectra have been obtained from volcanic rocks and hornblende separates from sedimentary clasts of plutonic origin. These spectra show evidence for some argon loss, but, in general, have plateau ages which are consistent with the mapped stratigraphy and with other geochronological controls, suggesting that they approximate to original ages. As a result the following events in the evolution of Adelaide Island can be recognized: 1) mostly marine Mesozoic sedimentation, 2) Early Cretaceous (c. 141 Ma) plutonism (recorded in clasts from conglomerates), 3) Cretaceous volcanism, 4) Late Cretaceous (possibly Tertiary) sedimentation, 5) Early Tertiary volcanism, which was acidic in eastern outcrops and intermediate elsewhere, and 6) Eocene intermediate volcanism and deposition of arc-derived conglomerates. Volcanism was possibly coeval with known Palaeocene-Eocene plutonic activity on Adelaide Island (part of the Antarctic Peninsula Batholith) and with volcanism of similar age in northern Alexander Island and the South Shetland Islands. The volcanism on Adelaide Island and the South Shetland Islands, at least, was associated with a westward migration of the Antarctic Peninsula arc.


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Authors: Griffiths, Chris J., Oglethorpe, Richard D. J.

1 January, 1998
Antarctic Science / 10
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