Basement geology of the southern Thomson Orogen
The diverse geological and geophysical data sets compiled, interrogated and interpreted for the largely undercover southern Thomson Orogen region reveal a Paleozoic terrane dominated by deformed metasedimentary rocks intruded by S- and I-type granites. An interpretive basement geology map and synthesis of geochronological constraints allow definition of several stratigraphic packages. The oldest and most widespread comprises upper Cambrian to Lower Ordovician metasedimentary rocks deposited during the vast extensional Larapinta Event with maximum depositional ages of ca 520 to ca 496 Ma. These units correlate with elements of the northern Thomson Orogen, Warburton Basin and Amadeus Basin. The degree of deformation and metamorphism of these rocks varies across the region. A second major package includes Lower to Middle Devonian volcanic and sedimentary units, some of which correlate with components of the Lachlan Orogen. The region also includes a Middle to Upper Ordovician package of metasedimentary rocks and a Devonian or younger package of intermediate volcaniclastic rocks of restricted extent. Intrusive units range from diatremes and relatively small layered mafic bodies to batholithic-scale suites of granite and granodiorite. S-type and I-type intrusions are both present, and ages range from Ordovician to Triassic, but late Silurian intrusions are the most abundant. Two broad belts of intrusions are recognised. In the east, the Scalby Belt comprises relatively young (Upper Devonian) intrusions, while in the west, the Ella Belt is dominated by intrusions of late Silurian age within a curvilinear, broadly east–west trend. The stratigraphic distributions, characteristics and constraints defined by this interpretive basement mapping provide a basic framework for ongoing research and mineral exploration.