Detrital zircons from the upper Cambrian-Devonian sandstones (Crashsite Group; n = 485) and Carboniferous tillite (Whiteout Conglomerate; n = 81) of the Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica record a steady supply of Neoproterozoic (“Pan-African”) orogeny (~ 550–600 Ma), Grenville (~ 1000 Ma) and Neoarchean (~ 3000–3500 Ma) zircons into the northern marginal basin of Gondwana. The overlying Permian Glossopteris-bearing Polarstar Formation shales (n = 85) have the same zircon provenance as underlying units but also include a dominance of depositional-age (263 Ma) euhedral zircons which are interpreted to be of local, volcanic arc origin. Modeling of detrital zircon provenance suggests that source areas were present in Pan-African and Laurentian crust throughout the Paleozoic. We also report calcite twinning strain results (12 strain analyses; n = 398 twins) for the Cambrian Minaret Fm. in the Heritage range which is predominantly a layer-parallel shortening strain in the direction (WSW-ENE) of Permian Gondwanide orogen thrust transport. There is a secondary, sub-vertical twinning strain overprint. The initiation of localized lower-middle Cambrian rifting (Heritage Group deposition) in Grenville-aged crust as Gondwana amalgamated and the subsequent Jurassic counterclockwise rotation of the Ellsworth-Whitmore terrane out of the Permian Gondwanide belt into central Antarctica each remain tectonic curiosities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas