U-Pb Detrital Zircon Geochronologic Constraints on Depositional Age and Sediment Source Terrains of the Late Paleozoic Tepuel-Genoa Basin
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
The late Paleozoic Ice Age (LPIA) is the longest-lived icehouse of the Phanerozoic and the only time a metazoan dominated and vegetated world transitioned from an icehouse climate into a greenhouse. Despite several decades of research, the timing, extent of glaciation and the location of ice centers remain unresolved, which prohibits reconstruction of ice volume. The Permo-Carboniferous sediments in the Tepuel-Genoa Basin, Patagonia contains a near complete record of sedimentation from the lower Carboniferous through lower Permian. Outsized clasts, thin pebble-rich diamictites and slumps represent the last of the late Paleozoic glacially influenced deep-water marine sediments in the Mojón de Hierro Fm. and the Paleozoic of Patagonia. U-Pb analysis of detrital zircons separated from slope sediments reveal groupings (20 myr bins, n≥5 zircons) with peak depositional ages of 420, 540 to 660 and 1040 Ma. Zircon age populations recovered from the Mojón de Hierro Fm. compare well with bedrock ages of the Deseado Massif of SE Patagonia, suggesting this may be a potential source of sediments. The maximum depositional age of the sediments is 306.05 ± 3.7 Ma (2σ) as determined by the median age of the two youngest concordant zircons that overlap in error. The youngest zircon from the analysis yields a 238U/206Pb age of 301.3 ± 4.5 Ma (2σ; MSWD = 2.3). Younger zircons from the analysis compare well with the age of granite bedrock exposed along the basin margin to the E-NE suggesting they may reflect a more proximal source. These data, which indicate a maximum age of late Carboniferous for the Mojón de Hierro Fm, provide the first geochemical constraints for the timing of final deposition of glaciomarine sediments in the Tepuel-Genoa Basin, and contributes to the biostratigraphic correlation of the late Paleozoic succession in Patagonia with other key LPIA basins that has thus far been hindered by faunal provincialism.