a1 Geology Department, University of Otago, Leith Street, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
a2 School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
Allan Hills nunatak, south Victoria Land, Antarctica, exposes an exceptional example of a shallow depth (< 500 m) intrusive complex formed during the evolution of the Ferrar large igneous province (LIP). Dyke distribution, geometries and relationships allow reconstruction of its history and mechanics of intrusion. Sills interconnect across host sedimentary layers, and a swarm of parallel inclined dolerite sheets is intersected by a radiating dyke-array associated with remnants of a phreatomagmatic vent, where the dolerite is locally quenched and mixed to form peperite. Intrusion geometries, and lack of dominant rift-related structures in the country rock indicate that magma overpressure, local stresses between mutually interacting dykes and vertical variations of host rock mechanical properties controlled the intrusive process throughout the thick and otherwise undeformed pile of sedimentary rocks (Victoria Group). Dolerite sills connected to one another by inclined sheets are inferred to record the preferred mode of propagation for magma-carrying cracks that represent the shallow portions of the Ferrar LIP plumbing system.
(Received June 18 2010)
(Accepted November 13 2010)
(Online publication February 01 2011)