Provenance of Triassic and Jurassic sandstones in the Banda Arc: Petrography, heavy minerals and zircon geochronology

Sebastian Zimmermann, Robert Hall

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Quartz-rich sandstones in the Banda Arc Islands are thought to be equivalent of Mesozoic sandstones on the Australian NW Shelf where they are important proven and potential reservoirs. Previous studies suggested that rivers draining Australia provided most of the sediment input and there have been suggestions of a northern provenance for some Timor sediments. We present results from a provenance study of Triassic and Jurassic sandstones of the Banda Arc between Timor and Tanimbar, which used several methodologies, including conventional light and heavy mineral point-counting, textural classification, and laser ablation (LA-ICP-MS) U–Pb dating of detrital zircons. Most sandstones are quartz-rich and detrital modes suggest a recycled origin and/or continental affinity, consistent with an Australian source. However, many of the sandstones are texturally immature and commonly contain volcanic quartz and volcanic lithic fragments. In the Tanimbar Islands and Babar, acid igneous material came from both the Australian continent and from the Bird's Head whereas sandstones in Timor have a greater metamorphic component. Heavy mineral assemblages are dominated by rounded ultra-stable minerals, but mixed with angular grains, and indicate an ultimate origin from acid igneous and metamorphic sources. Detrital zircon ages range from Archean to Mesozoic, but variations in age populations point to differences in source areas along the Banda Arc both spatially and temporally. Significant zircon populations with ages of 240–280 Ma, 1.5 Ga and 1.8 Ga are characteristic and are also common in many other areas of SE Asia. We interpret sediment to have been derived mainly from the Bird's Head, Western and Central Australia in the Triassic. In the Jurassic local sources close to Timor are suggested, combined with recycling of NW Shelf material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–19
Number of pages19
JournalGondwana Research
Early online date9 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • Provenance, SE Asia, Banda Arc, Heavy minerals, zircon geochronology, Timor, Babar, Tanimbar, Offshore Australia

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