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Detrital zircon data reveal the origin of Australia’s largest delta system

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posted on 21.06.2016 by Justin D. MacDonald, Simon P. Holford, Paul F. Green, Ian R. Duddy, Rosalind C. King, Guillaume Backé

The Late Cretaceous Ceduna Delta is the largest deltaic system on the Australian continent, yet its source is unknown. Apatite fission-track data reveal widespread Late Cretaceous exhumation across the southern Australian margin. New detrital zircon analysis of 786 grains from the Gnarlyknots-1 well, which penetrated the offshore delta top, show that the upper part of the delta (Santonian–Maastrichtian) was sourced largely from recycled Permian to Early Cretaceous cover and underlying basement eroded from the margin, proximal to the basin. This challenges the widely accepted model involving distal provenance of >2000 km from the eastern margin of Australia.

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