Evolution of a post-batholith dike swarm in central coastal Queensland, Australia: Arc-front to backarc?

Charlotte M. Allen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


A swarm of felsic and mafic dikes cuts a Late Carboniferous-Permian batholith called the Urannah Suite in central coastal Queensland. Late Permian-Triassic westward thrusting (Hunter-Bowen Orogeny) exposed this mid-crustal Suite and the crosscutting dikes, thus enabling examination of dikes that range in age from syn- to post-batholithic. Although both mafic and felsic dikes have the same dominant northerly strike, field, geochronologic and geochemical examination reveal that the swarm is composite; felsic dikes are older (285 Ma) and geochemically and isotopically distinct from mafic dikes (~ 273-229 Ma). Dike compositions are compared to those of the host plutonic rocks, and to volcanic rocks the same age as the dikes. Whereas the felsic (older) dikes are compositionally similar to their host granites (initial 87Sr/86Sr > 0.7045), the mafic (younger) dikes are isotopically (Sr, Nd, Pb) less radiogenic. Moreover, several different types of mafic dikes are evident based on geochemistry; most of these have mixed characteristics in terms of tectonic classification. All but two dikes of basalt and basaltic andesite composition classify as 'with-in plate' on Ti-Zr-Y tectonic classification plots. Many of the basalts have high TiO2 contents (1.5-3.0 wt.%). Most of these have REE and spider diagram patterns like calk-alkaline tholeiites, the exceptions being a few alkali basalts recognized by their alkali content, and high Ti, Ce, Nb and Zr contents. When put into the context of all plutonic rocks in the area (late Paleozoic and Mesozoic), these dikes record a transition at ~ 280 Ma, after which time, all magmatism in the region is less isotopically evolved (initial 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7033-0.7044). A model of slab retreat and hinge movement to the east in the latest Permian explains the change of geochemical signature from arc-front to backarc at about 280 Ma. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-349
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


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