The Lower Devonian Kowmung Volcaniclastics: A deep-water succession of mass-flow origin, northeastern Lachlan Fold Belt, N.S.W

R. A. Cas, C. Powell, C. L. Fergusson, J. G. Jones, W. D. Roots, J. Fergusson

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The Lower to ?Middle Devonian Kowmung Volcaniclastics form the upper part of a succession of Upper Siluran to mid-Devonian flyschoid rocks in the Yerranderie area of N.S.W., and contain two major facies associations. (1) A mudstone facies association represents the ambient, background sedimentation, comprising predominantly buff mudstone that is host to an assemblage of coarser-grained sediments, including graded-bedded to massive siltstone, sandstone, conglomerate, allodapic limestone, and large allochthonous limestone blocks and associated limestone breccia. Bouma sequences are common, sole structures occur and maximum bed thickness is about 3 m. (2) A volcaniclastic facies association intrudes and interrupts the accumulation of the ambient mudstone facies association, and contains massive to partly graded, quartzofeldspathic siltstone, sandstone, breccia and conglomerate. Sedimentation units in the volcaniclastic facies association are up to 120 m thick. The two facies associations interfinger. Stratigraphically, the base of the Kowmung Volcaniclastics is taken as the first sedimentation unit of the volcaniclastic facies association. The mudstone facies association below this level is part of the Siluro-Devonian Taralga Group. Both facies associations were deposited in relatively deep-water. The dominant transport process in both associations was mass-flow, involving granular mass-flows (turbidity currents, grain flows), debris flows and avalanches. Massive mudstone is hemipelagic in origin. The volcaniclastic facies association probably represents a submarine volcanic apron around the emergent, volcanic Bindook Complex. Grossly, the succession coarsens upwards, and there is evidence of several sources of sediment, rather than a single point at the head of a submarine fan. Provenance is diverse. In the mudstone facies association, framework grains in sandstone are microlitic volcanic-rock fragments with a mafic to intermediate volcanic source. Clasts in conglomerate and breccia are consistent with derivation from the regionally extensive, quartzose Ordovician flyschoid successions. Clasts of ?penecontemporaneous limestone also occur. The volcaniclastic facies association was probably derived largely from the nearby, coeval Bindook Complex, which consists of silicic ash-flow and ash-fall tuff, lava, associated sediment and granitoids. Detritus was either derived directly from volcanic eruptions or was worked in fringing littoral and fluvial environments prior to redeposition by mass-flow. Quartzite boulders mixed with volcanic clasts in the conglomerate suggest that Ordovician quartzarenite was also exposed around the volcanic complex. Tentative provenance correlations have been made between the different rock units in the Kowmung Volcaniclastics and their possible sources in the northern part of the Bindook Complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-288
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Geological Society of Australia
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1981

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