International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 100, Issue 2–3, pp 489–510 | Cite as

Neoproterozoic to Lower Palaeozoic successions of the Tandilia System in Argentina: implication for the palaeotectonic framework of southwest Gondwana

  • Udo Zimmermann
  • Daniel G. Poiré
  • Lucía Gómez Peral
Original Paper


The Cryogenian to Uppermost Ediacaran successions of the Tandilia System (Sierras Bayas Group and Cerro Negro Formation) in central-eastern Argentina is exceptional because of its unmetamorphosed and nearly undeformed character, its sediment provenance trend and the absence of any identified glacial deposit and the deposition of warm water carbonates. We decipher a dramatic change in the basin evolution from small-scale depositional areas during the Neoproterozoic to a larger basin related to an active continental margin throughout the Uppermost Ediacaran. The base of the succession is represented by immature detritus of alkaline composition (Villa Mónica Formation), but towards the top of this formation, the material is sorted and reworked, nonetheless still reflecting in its detritus the local rocks. The clastic deposition is interrupted by diagenetic overprinted dolomites. The unconformable overlying quartz-arenitic Ediacaran Cerro Largo Formation reworked the Cryogenian Villa Mónica Formation and contains mainly felsic granitic and metamorphic basement material of slightly wider variety, while the dominant alkaline geochemical signature in rocks of the Villa Mónica Formation disappears. Based on diagenetic, petrographic and sedimentological data, we can interpret the unconformity representing a longer time of erosion. The Cerro Largo Formation shows a transition to mudstones and the heterolithic facies of the Olavarría Formation. The top of the Sierras Bayas Group is represented by limestones (Loma Negra Formation), which are discordantly overlain by the Uppermost Ediacaran Cerro Negro Formation. The latter displays detrital material derived from a continental arc, mafic and felsic sources. Several arc-related geochemical proxies (Th/Sc < 0.8; Zr/Sc < 10; La/Sc < 2; Ti/Zr > 20) are recorded in the sediment detritus, as are syn-depositional pyroclastites. The absence of volcanic material in the underlying rocks allows proposing that the Cerro Negro Formation is related to an active continental margin fringing Gondwana (“Terra Australis Orogen”) as a retro-arc or retro-arc foreland basin.


Neoproterozoic Lower Palaeozoic SW Gondwana Provenance study Eastern Argentina Active continental margin 



Fieldwork was supported by funds of the CONICET and Cemento Avellaneda S.A. wherefore DGP and LPG are thankful. XRF analyses were executed at the University of Johannesburg. Statoil and Marathon Norge supported other analytical work. We are grateful to S. Siegesmund and M.A.S. Basei to be invited to this special volume. We thank V.A. Janasi and an anonymous reviewer for their very helpful and thoughtful comments, which improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

531_2010_584_MOESM1_ESM.xls (112 kb)
Complete geochemical data for rocks of the Sierras Bayas Group and the Cerro Negro Formation. [c-are = coarse grained arenite; sh = shale; qa = quartz-arenite; are = arenite; marl = marl; si = siltstone; normalisation and Ce* and Eu* values after Taylor and McLennan (1985) and McLennan et al. (1990, 1993); in grey and cursive samples excluded from CIA interpretations because they do not match the preconditions after Nesbitt and Young (1982)](XLS 111 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Udo Zimmermann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel G. Poiré
    • 3
  • Lucía Gómez Peral
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Petroleum EngineeringUniversity of StavangerStavangerNorway
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Centro de Investigaciones Geológicas (CONICET-Universidad Nacional de La Plata)La PlataArgentina

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