Chemostratigraphic trends and provenance of the Permian Tanqua and Laingsburg depocentres, southwestern Karoo Basin, South Africa

Van Lente, Belinda (2004-12)

Thesis (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Foreland basins commonly fill with sediment derived from the adjacent fold/thrust belt, providing a relatively simple source-to-basin configuration. However, that is not true for the early southwestern Karoo Basin, since the composition of the Ecca Group sedimentary rocks do not match the composition of the adjacent fold/thrust belt. The southwestern Karoo Basin is bordered to the west and south by the Cape Fold Belt (CFB) and provides the opportunity to study the linkage between its early structural evolution and deposition in the two spatially and temporally distinct Tanqua and Laingsburg depocentres. The CFB was formed when the early Palaeozoic passive continental margin, which formed a large section of the southern edge of Gondwana, evolved into an active convergent margin during the late Palaeozoic. Orogenesis resulted in a northwest-trending Cedarberg branch and an eastwest-trending Swartberg branch. The oroclinal bend between the two branches includes large-scale northeast-trending syntaxis structures, such as the Hex River and Baviaanshoek anticlinoria, which influenced the sedimentation path into the basin. Spectral gamma ray (SGR), mineralogical and geochemical studies of exposed rocks from the Tanqua and Laingsburg depocentres indicate a near uniform provenance for both, dominated by granitic and metamorphic material derived from a provenance seemingly far beyond the CFB. SGR data, combined with lithology, show that regional stratigraphic correlation is possible in the Skoorsteenberg, Kookfontein and Waterford Formations in the Tanqua depocentre. The same is true for the Laingsburg and Fort Brown Formations in the Laingsburg depocentre. There are no major changes in the SGR data set between the successive sandstone or shale units that could imply different origin, and no distinct signals in the SGR pattern of the shale intervals that could potentially correspond to maximum flooding surfaces. The Tanqua and Laingsburg depocentre sandstones are very fine- to lower mediumgrained, tightly packed, poorly to well sorted, and have undergone mechanical compaction and pressure solution. The mineralogical composition and texture of these sandstones suggest that they have undergone high-grade diagenesis to low-grade regional burial metamorphism to the lower greenschist facies (250 ± 50ºC; ~2 kbars). They are mineralogically and geochemically classified as lithic arenites and greywackes, and the Tanqua depocentre sandstones are slightly more mature than the Laingsburg depocentresandstones. REE patterns for the Tanqua and Laingsburg depocentre sandstones are similar, suggesting that both form part of the same evolutionary pattern and that the sediments have one common origin, i.e. a provenance predominantly composed of granitic material. Homogenous εNd-values for all sandstone samples of around –5 at the time of deposition indicate that there is little or no variation in provenance between the Tanqua and Laingsburg depocentre sediments. TCHUR model ages of 0.70 to 0.95 Ga, and TDM model ages of 1.19 to 1.49 Ga, resulted from a mixture of Archaean and Proterozoic material in unknown proportions. The most likely source terrane is thought to be the North Patagonian Massif. The latter show Nd isotopic compositions corresponding to an average εNd-value of -5 at 265 Ma.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Voorlandkomme word oor die algemeen gevul met sediment afkomstig van die aanliggende plooigordel, wat lei tot ‘n redelik eenvoudige brongebied-tot-afsettingskom konfigurasie. Dit is egter nie van toepassing vir die vroeë suidwestelike Karookom nie, aangesien die samestelling van die Ecca Groep sedimentêre gesteentes nie ooreenstem met die samestelling van die aanliggende plooigordel nie. Die suidwestelike Karookom word aan die weste en suide begrens deur die Kaapse Plooigordel en bied die geleentheid om die verwantskap tussen die vroeë strukturele evolusie en afsetting in die twee ruimtelik en temporeel afsonderlike Tankwa en Laingsburg subkomme te bestudeer. Die Kaapse Plooigordel het gevorm toe die vroeë Palaeosoïkum kontinentale grens, wat ‘n groot deel van die suidelike grens van Gondwana was, ontwikkel het tot ‘n aktiewe konvergerende grens gedurende die laat Palaeosoïkum. Orogenese het gelei tot die vorming van ‘n noordwes-strekkende Sederberg tak en ‘n ooswes-strekkende Swartberg tak. Die oroklinale buig tussen die twee takke sluit grootskaalse noordoosstrekkende sintaksis strukture in, soos die Hex Rivier en Baviaanshoek antiklinoria, wat die sedimentasie rigtings na die kom beïnvloed het. Spektrale gammastraal (SGR), mineralogiese en geochemiese studies op die dagsome van die Tankwa en Laingsburg subkomme dui ‘n byna identiese brongebied aan vir beide, oorheers deur granitiese en metamorfe materiaal vanaf ‘n brongebied oënskynlik vêr vanaf die Kaapse Plooigordel. SGR data, gekombineer met litologie, dui aan dat dit moontlik is om regionale stratigrafiese korrelasies in the Skoorsteenberg, Kookfontein en Waterford Formasies in die Tankwa subkom te maak. Dieselfde geld vir die Laingsburg en Fort Brown Formasies in die Laingsburg subkom. Daar is geen groot veranderinge, wat ‘n verskil in oorsprong kan aandui, in the SGR datastel tussen die opeenvolgende sandsteen of skalie eenhede nie, en ook geenuitstaande tekens in the SGR patroon van die skalie-intervalle wat moontlik kan ooreenstem met ‘n maksimum vloedingsvlak nie. Die Tankwa en Laingsburg subkom sandsteenlae is baie fyn- tot laervlak mediumkorrelrig, dig gekompakteer, swak tot goed gesorteer, en het meganiese kompaksie en drukoplossing ondergaan. Die mineralogiese samestelling en tekstuur van hierdie sandsteenlae dui daarop dat hulle hoë-graadse diagenese tot lae-graadse regionale begrawingsmetamorfose tot laervlak groenskis fasies (250 ± 50ºC; ~2 kbars) ondergaan het. Hulle word mineralogies en geochemies geklassifiseer as litiese areniete en grouwakke. Die Tankwa subkom sandsteenlae is effens meer volwasse as die Laingsburg subkom sandsteenlae. Die lantanietgroep patroon vir die Tanqua en Laingsburg sandsteenlae is eenders, wat aandui dat beide deel gevorm het van dieselfde evolusionêre ontwikkeling en dat die sedimente een gesamentlike oorsprong gehad het, naamlik ‘n brongebied bestaande hoofsaaklik uit granitiese materiaal. Homogene εNd-waardes van ongeveer –5 by tye van afsetting vir al die sandsteen monsters dui daarop dat daar min of geen verandering in brongebied vir die Tankwa en Laingsburg subkom sedimente was nie. TCHUR model ouderdomme van 0.70 tot 0.95 Ga, en TDM model ouderdomme van 1.19 tot 1.49 Ga, is afkomstig van ‘n mengsel van Argeïese en Proterosoïese materiaal in onbekende hoeveelhede. Die mees waarskynlike brongebied is die Noord Patagoniese Gebergtes. Dit wys Nd isotopiese samestellings wat ooreenstem met ‘n gemiddelde εNd-waarde van –5 by 265 Ma.

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