U–Pb Geochronology and Palynology from Lopingian (Upper Permian) Coal Measure Strata of the Galilee Basin, Queensland, Australia

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This study presents the first chemical abrasion-isotope dilution thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (CA-IDTIMS) U–Pb zircon ages from tuffs in Lopingian (upper Permian) strata of the Galilee Basin, Queensland and reassigns the B coal-seam to the ‘Burngrove Formation equivalent.’ Five Lopingian tuffs were dated: four from the CRD Montani-1 drill hole including three from the ‘Fair Hill Formation equivalent’ (255.13 ± 0.09, 254.41 ± 0.07 and 254.32 ± 0.10 Ma) and one from the ‘Burngrove Formation equivalent’ (252.81 ± 0.07 Ma, approximately the age of the Yarrabee Tuff in the adjacent Bowen Basin); and a single tuff from the Black Alley Shale in the GSQ Tambo-1-1A drill hole (254.09 ± 0.06 Ma). In the Galilee Basin, all three units are constituents of the Betts Creek Group, here formally elevated in nomenclatural status from the Betts Creek beds. On the western margin of the basin, the group thins, and the ‘J and K’ seams (formerly known as the Crossmore and Glenaras sequences, respectively) in the GSQ Muttaburra-1 drill hole have been interpreted through palynology as Cisuralian–early Guadalupian (spore-pollen assemblage APP3.2). This corroborates the exclusion of the ‘J and K’ seams from the overlying Lopingian Betts Creek Group (spore-pollen assemblage APP5), and the underlying lower to mid-Cisuralian Aramac Coal Measures (spore-pollen assemblage APP2.2), which represent the uppermost unit of the Joe Joe Group. It is proposed that the ‘J and K’ seams are restricted to a depocentre in the Hulton–Rand structure. The recognition of these strata containing APP3.2 spore-pollen assemblages suggests that the mid-Permian hiatus is locally reduced to 12–13 My from 30 Ma (where the ‘J and K’ seams are absent). The results of the radiometric dating and palynological analysis in the Galilee Basin support the proposed, albeit informal stratigraphy, that is given in terms of equivalents of formational units in the Bowen Basin and on the intervening Springsure Shelf.