The Larsemann Hills region is dominated by two major lithological associations, a Palaeoproterozoic felsic/mafic orthogneiss complex (Søstrene Orthogneiss) which occurs as basement to a sequence of pelitic, psammitic and felsic paragneiss (supergroup = Brattstrand Paragneiss) and felsic intrusives. The depositional age of the Brattstrand Paragneiss sequences are controversial but isotopic data suggest derivation from the basement Søstrene Orthogneiss. Current geochronology indicates that the region experienced medium to low pressure granulite-facies metamorphism during the Early Palaeozoic (~500 Ma). Although the paragneiss sequences record no evidence of earlier metamorphism, relicts of a previous metamorphic event at ~1000 Ma are preserved in the Søstrene Orthogneiss. Within the Larsemann Hills region, the Early Palaeozoic event is characterised by peak metamorphism of ~7 kbar at ~800-850 degrees C, with the post-peak evolution characterised by decompression, with some cooling, to 4 kbars at 750 degrees C, then to 2-3 kbar at 600-650 degrees C during final stages of orogenesis, with exhumation largely driven by crustal extension. Tectonic models generally argue for a continental-continental collisional scenario, with thermal input derived from a thinned mantle lithosphere.
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