Detrital zircon provenance of Permo-Carboniferous glacial diamictites across Gondwana

John P. Craddock, Richard W. Ojakangas, David H. Malone, Alexandros Konstantinou, Arthur Mory, Wilfried Bauer, Robert J. Thomas, Suzanne Craddock Affinati, Kathryn Pauls, Udo Zimmerman, Greg Botha, Anthony Rochas-Campos, Paulo R.dos Santos, Eric Tohver, Claudio Riccomini, Joe Martin, Jonathan Redfern, Matthew Horstwood, George Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Gondwana changed its high latitude location during the late Paleozoic (338–265 Ma), relative to the South Pole, and the style of glaciation evolved from localized alpine glaciers and ice fields to ~30 small ice sheets across the supercontinent. We report the analysis of heavy mineral populations (n = 2217) and the ages of detrital zircons (n = 2920 U-Pb LA-ICPMS results) from Gondwana diamictite deposits from eight landmasses: Africa (5 samples), Antarctica (5), Australia (8), the Ellsworth Mountains terrane (1, Antarctica), the Falkland Islands (2, diamictite plus U-Pb SHRIMP ages on granite clasts), India (1), Madagascar (1), Oman (3), the equatorial Lhasa terrane (2), the equatorial North Qiantang terrane (2) and South America (10). Heavy mineral separations (SEM-WDS analysis) identified one anomaly, pyrope garnets present only in Dwyka Group and Dwyka-equivalent samples suggesting an ultramafic Antarctic source. Statistical analysis of detrital zircon age distributions support the inference of local transport of sediment from many small ice centers with five examples of far-field ice transport (>1000 km; four with ice flow >2000 km), and three from ice fields located along coastal Antarctica. We propose that ice was distributed from five main ice-caps of different ages in southern Gondwana with ice flow away from central Gondwana. We also confirm that the Permo-Carboniferous detrital zircon populations of Euramerica (eolian and fluvial) and Gondwana (ash, detrital-glacial) are not mixed across the equator or seaway and ponder the possibility of a late Paleozoic snowball Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-316
Number of pages32
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
StatePublished - May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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