Conventional K-Ar ages of tholeiitic basalts of the Ferrar Group in the central Transantarctic Mountains indicate significant loss of radiogenic 40Ar from this unit over much of its outcrop area. Argon loss varies inversely with amount of devitrified matrix in the basalts, which have not been thermally or tectonically disturbed since extrusion. 40Ar/19Ar age-spectra of these tholeiites are generally discordant and indicate significant inhomogeneity in the distribution of radiogenic 40Ar with respect to 39Ar, but are distinctly different from release patterns of thermally disturbed samples. Amounts of argon redistribution vary directly with amounts of devitrification and are reflected in progressive modification of the age spectra. A model of redistribution of radiogenic 40Ar by devitrification of originally glassy matrix is suggested that is consistent with disturbance of the conventional K-Ar systematics as well as the 40Ar/39Ar age-spectra. Samples with substantial redistribution but minor loss of radiogenic argon yield age spectra whose apparent ages decrease from low-temperature to high-temperature steps, similar to those reported for some lunar basalts, breccias, and soils. Modification of all the age spectra is attributed to redistribution of radiogenic 40Ar during progressive devitrification, although 39Ar-recoil effects suggested by Turner and Cadogan (1974) may be a factor in some cases. Where devitrification involves most potassium sites within the basalt, 40Ar/39Ar age-plateaux may be formed that have no geologic significance. ?? 1977.
Additional publication details
Interpretation of discordant 40Ar/39Ar age-spectra of mesozoic tholeiites from antarctica