Stratigraphic Evolution of Archaean Volcanic Rock-Dominated Rift Basins from the Whim Creek Belt, West Pilbara Craton, Western Australia

  1. Wladyslaw Altermann2 and
  2. Patricia L. Corcoran3
  1. G. Pike and
  2. R. Cas

Published Online: 12 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304312.ch9

Precambrian Sedimentary Environments: A Modern Approach to Ancient Depositional Systems

Precambrian Sedimentary Environments: A Modern Approach to Ancient Depositional Systems

How to Cite

Pike, G. and Cas, R. (2002) Stratigraphic Evolution of Archaean Volcanic Rock-Dominated Rift Basins from the Whim Creek Belt, West Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, in Precambrian Sedimentary Environments: A Modern Approach to Ancient Depositional Systems (eds W. Altermann and P. L. Corcoran), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304312.ch9

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Institut für Allgemeine und Angewandte Geologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Luisenstrasse 37, D-80333 Munich, Germany

  2. 3

    Department of Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3J5, Canada

Author Information

  1. School of Geosciences, PO Box 28E, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 18 FEB 2002

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632064151

Online ISBN: 9781444304312

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Keywords:

  • stratigraphic evolution of archaean volcanic rock-dominated rift basins from Whim Creek Belt, west Pilbara Craton, Western Australia;
  • geology of Whim Creek Belt;
  • Red Hill and Good Luck well areas;
  • facies architecture of Whim Creek Group;
  • interpretation of facies from Whim Creek group;
  • interpretation of facies from Bookingarra group;
  • event stratigraphy and basin evolution of Whim Creek basin;
  • stratigraphic models and volcanic rock-dominated basins

Summary

The c.3009–2945 Ma Whim Creek Belt, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, contains volcano-sedimentary rocks deposited within Archaean extensional basins. The stratigraphy of the Whim Creek Belt is redefined from detailed facies analysis and is subdivided into two groups, the Whim Creek Group and the overlying Bookingarra Group. The stratigraphy presented here recognizes volcanic and tectonic events as the dominant controls on facies and stratigraphic development. The Whim Creek Group is subdivided into three lithostratigraphic formations. The c.200 m thick Warambie Basalt unconformably overlies Mesoarchaean amphibolite facies basement and is overlain by c.290 m of volcaniclastic rocks of the Red Hill Formation. These formations are intruded by 160 m of dacitic intrusions of the Mons Cupri Dacite. The Bookingarra Group overlies the Whim Creek Group with a low angle unconformity or disconformity. Three formations are recognized. The c.300 m Cistern Formation and c.300 m Rushall Slate comprise volcaniclastic and siliciclastic sedimentary rocks and are conformably overlain by the Negri Volcanics, a c.2000 m thick package of dominantly basaltic volcanic and volcaniclastic rock. The Whim Creek Belt preserves evidence for two Mesoarchaean rift basins. The older Whim Creek sub-basin shows some stratigraphic similarity to modern back-arc basins. The recognition of bimodal volcanism and intrusion (Warambie Basalt and Mons Cupri dacite), coupled with resedimented volcaniclastic debris (Red Hill volcanics), is similar to modern back arc basins within continental crust and is consistent with the recognition of amphibolite and granitoid basement. Uplift and erosion of the Whim Creek Group preceded deposition of polymictic sedimentary rocks of the Cistern and Rushall Slate formations (Bookingarra Group) within the younger Mallina Basin. The Cistern Formation comprises coarse, polymictic conglomerate and breccia associated with early rifting of the Bookingarra Basin. These coarse sedimentary rocks contain volcaniclastic material derived from the eroded Whim Creek Group and an upward increasing proportion of siliciclastic debris. The Cistern Formation passes conformably upwards into siliciclastic-dominated sandstone, siltstone and shale of the Rushall Slate. The Cistern Formation/Rushall Slate contact reflects the decreasing importance of epiclastic volcanic debris derived from the Whim Creek Group. The Mallina Basin underwent a second rift phase that allowed the emplacement of basaltic volcanic rocks and subvolcanic sills of the Negri Volcanics. Rare peperitic contacts with the underlying Cistern Formation indicate that this late rifting overlapped with sedimentation within the Mallina Basin.