The Palu Metamorphic Complex, NW Sulawesi, Indonesia: Origin and evolution of a young metamorphic terrane with links to Gondwana and Sundaland




van Leeuwen, Theo
Allen, Charlotte M
Elburg, Marlina
Massonne, H.-J.
Palin, J M
Hennig, Juliane

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Pergamon-Elsevier Ltd


The Palu Metamorphic Complex (PMC) is exposed in a late Cenozoic orogenic belt in NW Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is a composite terrane comprising a gneiss unit of Gondwana origin, a schist unit composed of meta-sediments deposited along the SE Sundaland margin in the Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary, and one or more slivers of amphibolite with oceanic crust characteristics. The gneiss unit forms part of the West Sulawesi block underlying the northern and central sections of the Western Sulawesi Province. The presence of Late Triassic granitoids and recycled Proterozoic zircons in this unit combined with its isotopic signature suggests that the West Sulawesi block has its origin in the New Guinea margin from which it rifted in the late Mesozoic. It docked with Sundaland sometime during the Late Cretaceous. U-Th-Pb dating results for monazite suggest that another continental fragment may have collided with the Sundaland margin in the earliest Miocene. High-pressure (HP) and ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) rocks (granulite, peridotite, eclogite) are found as tectonic slices within the PMC, mostly along the Palu-Koro Fault Zone, a major strike-slip fault that cuts the complex. Mineralogical and textural features suggest that some of these rocks resided at depths of 60-120 km during a part of their histories. Thermochronological data (U-Th-Pb zircon and 40Ar/39Ar) from the metamorphic rocks indicate a latest Miocene to mid-Pliocene metamorphic event, which was accompanied by widespread granitoid magmatism and took place in an extensional tectonic setting. It caused recrystallization of, and new overgrowths on, pre-existing zircon crystals, and produced andalusite-cordierite-sillimanite-staurolite assemblages in pelitic protoliths, indicating HT-LP (Buchan-type) metamorphism. The PMC was exhumed as a core complex at moderate rates (c. 0.7-1.0 mm/yr) accompanied by rapid cooling in the Plio-Pleistocene. Some of the UHP rocks were transported to the surface at significantly higher rates (≥16mm/yr). The results of our study do not support recent plate tectonic reconstructions that propose a NW Australia margin origin for the West Sulawesi block (e.g. Hall et al., 2009).





Journal of Asian Earth Sciences


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