Date of Award:

1985

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Geology

Advisor/Chair:

Robert Q. Oaks, Jr.

Abstract

The Arumbera Sandstone consists of mappable informal units which are repeated in a vertical, cyclic succession. Sandstones of fluvial origin form resistant strike ridges separated by strike valleys, which consist of recessive sandstones and mudrocks of marine origin.

Lithofacies 1a, 2b, and 3a are probably of marine origin in intertidal environments. Trace fossil assemblages in lithofacies 3a suggest Skolithos and Cruziana inchnofacies were present. Lithofacies 1e, 2a, 2c, 3b, and 4a are probably of fluvial origin, as the result of coalescing braided stream deposits. The Arumbera Sandstone probably was deposited in a deltaic environment characterized by low wave energy, a micro tidal range, and high input of sand-sized sediment br braided streams.

In the western MacDonnell Ranges, the Arumbera overlies the Julie or Pertatataka formations along a sharp but conformable contact. The present upper contact is a low-angle regional unconformity which contains paleotopographic elements that resemble pediments, stripped structural plains, and steep erosional scarps. These paleotopographic surfaces are overlain from east to west by the Chandler, hugh River, and Cleland formations in an onlap relationship.

The Arumbera Sandstone is considered part of a molasse sequence associated with the Late Proterozoic and Early Cambrian Petermann Ranges orogeny, which occurred along the present southern and southwestern margin of the Amadeus Basin. The uplifted Petermann Ranges shed detritus from metamorphic, sedimentary, and minor amounts of plutonic rocks. Paleocurrents suggest most terrigenous material was derived from the southwestern margin of the basin. The composition of detrital grains and lack of weathering features in labile detrital grains suggest a hot, semiarid to arid climate in the source area and in the basin of deposition.

Sandstone samples examined petrographically primarily are subphyllarenites, subarkoses, arkoses, feldspathic litharenites, and lithic arkoses.

The inferred paragenetic sequence is: Eogenetic: (1) mechanical compaction, (2) "dust rims" of hematite, illite, and chlorite, and (3) hematite cement; Mesogenetic: (4) syntaxial feldspar overgrowths, (5) syntaxial quartz overgrowths, (6) hematite cement, (7) carbonate cement, (8) kaolinite replacement, (9) formation of secondary porosity; Telogenetic: (10) chert cement and (11) gibbsite or hematite cement.

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