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Structure of the Upper Devonian Boyd Volcanic Complex, south coast New South Wales: implications for the Devonian-Carboniferous evolution of the Lachlan Fold Belt

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Upper Devonian continental and subaqueous sedimentary rocks and bimodal volcanic rocks of the Boyd Volcanic Complex of the south coast of New South Wales were deposited in a rapidly subsiding, 330°‐trending, transtensional basin. Structural analysis of synvolcanic and synsedimentary deformational structures indicate that basin formation is related to a 330°‐orientated subhorizontal σ 1 and a 060°‐orientated subhorizontal σ 3 , which account for the development of the observed intrusion and fracture orientations. Rhyolitic, basaltic and associated clastic dykes are preferentially intruded along extensional 330°‐trending fractures, subordinately along sinistral, transtensional 010°‐trending fractures and along 290°‐trending fractures. One of the implications of such a palaeotectonic reconstruction is that the so called north‐trending Eden‐Comerong‐Yalwal Late Devonian rift does not represent a simple, single palaeobasin entity, but is presently a north‐trending alignment of exposures of sedimentary and volcanic rocks probably emplaced in different basins or sub‐basins, mildly folded during the Carboniferous Kanimblan compression (which also formed the north‐trending Budawang synclinorium) and then extended to the east by the Tasman Sea opening during the Jurassic. The development of scattered, rapidly subsiding, basins characterised by bimodal volcanism during the Late Devonian throughout the Lachlan Fold Belt, can be interpreted in terms of extensional collapse of a forming mountain belt contemporaneous with a sharp decrease of compressional stress after the Middle Devonian Tabberabberan orogenic event. This would promote a reorientation of σ 3 and transition from a compressional to a transtensional tectonic environment, which could also favour block rotation and formation of release basins.
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Keywords: Lachlan Fold Belt; dyke emplacement; syndepositional deformation; transtension; volcanism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche, Università di Roma TRE, Italy 2: Department of Earth Sciences, Monash University, PO Box 28E, Vic. 3800, Australia

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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