Zircon U-Pb dating of Mesozoic volcanic and tectonic events in northwest Palmer Land and southwest Graham Land, Antarctica
New whole rock Rb-Sr and zircon U-Pb geochronological data and Sm-Nd isotopic data are presented from the central magmatic arc domain of the Antarctic Peninsula in the area of northwest Palmer Land and southwest Graham Land, Rb-Sr isochrons indicate an age of 169±6 Ma for basement orthogneisses and 132±9 to 71±9 Ma for plutons. A U-Pb age of 183 ± 2.1 Ma, with no detectable inheritance, on zircons from an orthogneiss from Cape Berteaux provides the first reliable age for the orthogneisses, which are interpreted as metamorphosed silicic volcanic rocks, and Sm-Nd data indicate derivation in a mature volcanic arc. The age indicates they may be correlatives of the Jurassic ‘Chon Aike’ volcanism of the eastern Antarctic Peninsula. A U-Pb zircon age of 107 ± 1.7 Ma on a terrestrial volcanic sequence overlying an uncomformity strongly suggests a mid-Cretaceous age for the extensive volcanic cover of northwest Palmer Land that was previously thought to be Jurassic. The unconformity is interpreted to have been a result of compressional uplift related to the Palmer Land event. This is the first date for the event in the western part of the central magmatic arc terrane of the Antarctic Peninsula.