Chapter

Antarctica

pp 181-190

Tectonic Model for Development of the Byrd Glacier Discontinuity and Surrounding Regions of the Transantarctic Mountains during the Neoproterozoic — Early Paleozoic

  • Edmund StumpAffiliated withDepartment of Geological Sciences, Arizona State University
  • , Brian GooteeAffiliated withDepartment of Geological Sciences, Arizona State University
  • , Franco TalaricoAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Siena

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Abstract

The Byrd Glacier discontinuity is a major tectonic boundary crossing the Ross Orogen, with crystalline rocks to the north and primarily sedimentary rocks to the south. Most models for the tectonic development of the Ross Orogen in the central Transantarctic Mountains consist of two-dimensional transects across the belt, but do not address the major longitudinal contrast at Byrd Glacier. This paper presents a tectonic model centering on the Byrd Glacier discontinuity. Rifting in the Neoproterozoic produced a crustal promontory in the craton margin to the north of Byrd Glacier. Oblique convergence of a terrane (Beardmore microcontinent) during the latest Neoproterozoic and Early Cambrian was accompanied by subduction along the craton margin of East Antarctica. New data presented herein in support of this hypothesis are U-Pb dates of 545.7 ±6.8 Ma and 531.0 ±7.5 Ma on plutonic rocks from the Britannia Range, directly north of Byrd Glacier. After docking of the terrane, subduction stepped out, and Byrd Group was deposited during the Atdabanian-Botomian across the inner margin of the terrane. Beginning in the upper Botomian, reactivation of the sutured boundaries of the terrane resulted in an outpouring of clastic sediment and folding and faulting of the Byrd Group.