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Roland, Norbert W; Olesch, Martin; Schubert, Wolfgang (2011): Geochemistry on rocks from Shackleton Range. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.763853, Supplement to: Roland, NW et al. (1995): Petrogenesis of the metasediments from the pioneers escarpment, Shackleton Range, Antarctica. Polarforschung, 63(2/3), 165-182, hdl:10013/epic.29720.d001

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During the GEISHA expedition (Geologische Expedition in die Shackleton Range 1987/88), the Pioneers Escarpment was visited and sampled extensively for the first time. Most of the rock types encountered represent amphibolite facies metamorphics, but evidence for granulite facies conditions was found in cores of garnet. These conditions must have been at least partly reached during the peak of metamorphism.
For the Pioneers Escarpment a varicolored succession of sedimentary and bimodal volcanic origin is typical. It comprises: quartzites muscovite quartzite, sericite quartzite, fuchsite quartzite, garnet-quartz schists etc.; pelites: mica schists and plagioclase or plagioclase-microcline gneisses, aluminous schists; marls and carbonates: grey meta-limestones, carbonaceous quartzites, but also pure white, often fine-grained, saccharoidal marble, or a variety of tremolite marble, olivine (forsterite) marble, diopside-clinopyroxene-tremolite marble, etc.; basic volcanic rocks: amphibole fels, amphibolite schist, garnet amphibolite, and acidic to intermediate volcanic rocks: garnet-biotite schist, epidote-biotite-plagioclase gneiss, microcline gneiss.
These rocks are considered to be a supracrustal unit, called the Pioneers Group. In the easternmost parts of the Pioneers Escarpment, e.g. at Vindberget, nonmetamorphic shales, sandstones and greywackes crop out, which are cover rocks of possibly Jurassic age. These metasediments, which represent a quartz-pelite-carbonate (QPC) association, indicate that deposition took place on a stable shelf, i.e. on the submerged rim of a craton. Marine shallow-water sedimentation including marls and aluminous clays form the protoliths. The volcanics may be part of a bimodal volcanics-arkose-conglomerate (BVAC) association.
Geochemical analyses support the assumption of volcanic protoliths. This is demonstrated especially by the elevated amounts of the immobile, incompatible high-field-strength elements (HFSE) Nb, Ta, Ti, Y, and Zr encountered in some of the gneisses. Microscopic investigation suggests the existence of ortho-amphibolites. This is confirmed by the geochemistry. A bimodal volcanic association is evident. The amphibolites plot in both the tholeiite and calc-alkaline fields. The acidic volcanics are mainly rhyolitic.
The sediments and volcanics were subjected to conditions of 10-11 kbar and 600°C during the peak of metamorphism, i.e. granulite facies metamorphism, which can be deduced from the Fe mole ratios of 0.71-0.73 in the garnet cores. Due to the relatively low temperatures, no anatectic melting took placc. The rims of the garnets show a Fe mole ratio of 0.84-0.86, and the coexisting mineral association garnet-biotite-staurolite-kyanite indicate amphibolite facies. The thermobarometry shows P-T conditions of 5-6 kbar and 570-580°C for this stage.
The metamorphic history indicates deep burial at depths down to 35 km (subduction?) i.e. high pressure metamorphism, followed by pressure release due to uplift associated with retrograde metamorphism. This may have happened during a pre-Ross metamorphic event or orogeny. The Ross Orogeny at about 500 Ma probably just led to the weak greenschist facies overprint that is evident in the rocks of the Pioneers Group.
Finally, sedimentation resumed in the area of the present Shackleton Range, or at least in the eastern part of the Pioneers Escarpment, probably when detritus from erosion of the basement (Read Group and Pioneers Group) was deposited, forming sandstones and greywackes of possibly Jurassic age. There is no indication that these sediments belong to the former Turnpike Bluff Group.
Median Latitude: -80.476667 * Median Longitude: -21.626667 * South-bound Latitude: -80.550000 * West-bound Longitude: -22.000000 * North-bound Latitude: -80.380000 * East-bound Longitude: -20.900000
HRxxx-1 * Latitude: -80.500000 * Longitude: -22.000000 * Location: Pioneers Group, Shackleton Range, Antarctica * Device: Geological sample (GEOS)
HRxxx-2 * Latitude: -80.550000 * Longitude: -20.900000 * Location: Vindberget, Pioneers Group, Shackleton Range, Antarctica * Device: Geological sample (GEOS)
Wxxx * Latitude: -80.380000 * Longitude: -21.980000 * Location: Meade Nunatak, Pioneers Escarpment, Shackleton Range, Antarctica * Device: Geological sample (GEOS)
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