Timeframe: 542–~310 Ma, Early Paleozoic, Cambrian to mid-Carboniferous,
Australia within Gondwana is located near the equator in the Cambrian, widespread shallow seas across the continent until the Devonian. Life forms proliferate (the ‘Cambrian Explosion’) including vertebrates, forests begin to form, the Tasmanides build Eastern Australia and basalts flood Northern Australia. Gondwana merges with other continents to form Pangaea and drifts south.
Rocks to show: examples of flood basalts form northern Australia, Tasmanides igneous rocks, mineral resources including Victorian gold; fossil-rich sediments from warm shallow seas and deep marine shales, desert red beds; evidence of plants colonising the land – links to NAC.
- 541 Ma – Cambrian Explosion complex life proliferates and diversifies in the ocean
- ~506 Ma – vast Kalkarindji continental flood basalt province, 2.1m2 Km in WA, NT, WA & QLD
- ~488 Ma – end-Ordovician mass extinction
- ~445 Ma – gold mineralisation Victoria in waning stages of the Benambran Orgeny
- ~400 – 380 – corals reefs in Vic, Qld, WA, NT
- ~372 Ma – Late Devonian mass extinction (Frasnian-Famennian extinction), seen in Canning Basin
- ~ 385 – 320 Ma – Mountain building in central Australia, volcanic arc eastern Australia, Pangea forms
- ~ 385 – 320 Ma – Gondwana/Laurussia collision to form Pangea, Late Dev – Mid Carb.
- ~380-370 Ma – gold mineralisation Victoria in waning stages of Tabberabberan orogeny
- ~330 Ma – late Visean, Australia drifted rapidly south to a near-polar position
Rocks included in this theme
- Kosciusko Granite (Delamerian?), NSW
- Tarana Granite, NSW
- Cadia Au ore, NSW
- Wombeyan Limestone, NSW
- Heathcote volcanics, Victoria
- Tumblagooda sandstone, WA
- ?Owen Group Conglomerate, Tasmania