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EARTH SCIENCE | SOLID EARTH | ROCKS/MINERALS/CRYSTALS

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    Dredge rocks were recovered on scientific voyage SS2011_06 on the MNF RV Southern Surveyor, from the Perth Abyssal Plain, offshore Western Australia. Continental rocks (gneiss, granite, sandstone) were dredged from both the Batavia Knoll and the Gulden Draak Ridge (dredge sites 1, 2, and 3). A small amount of high weathered basalt was recovered from the Gulden Draak Ridge (dredge site 4). Three successful dredges were undertaken along the Dirck Hartog Ridge recovering predominantly gabbro (dredge 5) and basalts (dredge sites 6 and 7).

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    The final lithospheric breakup of the Australian-Antarctic rift system remains controversial due to sparse geological constraints on the nature of the basement along the ocean-continent transition zones. We present new interpretations of multichannel seismic reflection transects, as well as new petrological data of dredged mantle rocks along the East Antarctic margin (Seamount B, offshore Terre Adélie). By combining both datasets, we show that a 50–100 km wide domain of cold (900°C), fertile subcontinental mantle was exhumed along the non-volcanic Antarctic margin. The dredged peridotites preserve characteristics similar to mantle xenoliths found in syn- to post-rift volcanism at the eastern end of the Australian margin (Victoria and Tasmania), indicating the sampling of a common fertile subcontinental mantle during rifting between Australia and Antarctica. Seamount B represents the initial stages of exhumation of cold subcontinental lithosphere along an ocean-continent transition during rifting. This thick mantle domain was likely affected by syn-rift melt impregnation at high-pressure (8 kbar), leading to the formation of plagioclase-pyroxenites. Overall, the combination of continental rifted blocks, a 50-100 km wide domain of volcanic-poor subcontinental mantle and (ultra)-slow spreading implies that ocean-continent transition zones along the Australian-Antarctic margins represent a recent analogue to ocean continent transition zones from the Jurassic Western Tethys. Additionally, evidence of syn-rift melt stagnation at high pressure suggests that magmatism along the Australian-Antarctic rifted margins was sufficient to form magnetic anomalies that can be used as isochrons despite their formation in lithosphere other than mature, steady-state ocean crust.

  • Six dredges were undertaken from the RV Investigator during voyage IN2016_E01 to obtain rock and sediment samples to constrain the crustal nature, age of formation and paleo-environment through time of the Cascade Seamount, located offshore Eastern Tasmania, Australia. This record lists the sample number, weights and rock types recovered. In total we collected 713 kg of rock samples, including basalts, conglomerates, sandstones, limestones and tuffs.

  • Rock samples were dredged from seamounts in the southern Tasman Sea on the RV Investigator, voyage IN2018_V08