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Chapter 70 The Elatina glaciation (late Cryogenian), South Australia

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posted on 2016-06-21, 10:59 authored by George E. Williams, Victor A. Gostin, David M. McKirdy, Wolfgang V. Preiss, Phillip W. Schmidt

Deposits of the late Cryogenian Elatina glaciation constitute the Yerelina Subgroup in the Adelaide Geosyncline region, South Australia. They have a maximum thickness of c. 1500 m, cover 200 000 km2, and include the following facies: basal boulder diamictite with penetrative glaciotectonites affecting preglacial beds; widespread massive and stratified diamictites containing faceted and striated clasts, some derived from nearby emergent diapiric islands and others of extrabasinal provenance; laminated siltstone and mudstone with dropstones; tidalites and widespread glaciofluvial, deltaic to marine-shelf sandstones; a regolith of frost-shattered quartzite breccia up to 20 m thick that contains primary sand wedges 3+ m deep and other large-scale periglacial forms; and an aeolian sand sheet covering 25 000 km2 and containing primary sand wedges near its base. These deposits mark a spectrum of settings ranging from permafrost regolith and periglacial aeolian on the cratonic platform (Stuart Shelf) in the present west, through glaciofluvial, marginal-marine and inner marine-shelf in the central parts of the Adelaide Geosyncline, to outer marine-shelf in sub-basins in the present SE and north.

The Elatina glaciation has not been dated directly, and only maximum and minimum age limits of c. 640 and 580 Ma, respectively, are indicated. Palaeomagnetic data for red beds from the Elatina Formation (Fm.) and associated strata indicate deposition of the Yerelina Subgroup within 10° of the palaeoequator. The Yerelina Subgroup is unconformably to disconformably overlain by the dolomitic Nuccaleena Fm., which in most places is the lowest unit of the Wilpena Group and marks Early Ediacaran marine transgression.