Timing of the Late Palaeozoic glaciation in western Gondwana: New ages and correlations from Paganzo and Paraná basins

Victoria Valdez Buso*, Juan Pablo Milana, Mercedes di Pasquo, Paulo Sergio Gomes Paim, Ruy Paulo Philipp, Carolina Danielski Aquino, Joice Cagliari, Farid Chemale Junior, Ben Kneller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


During the Late Palaeozoic, the Gondwana supercontinent formed an extensive Southern Hemisphere landmass that was affected by multiple glacial episodes, known collectively as the Late Palaeozoic Ice Age (LPIA). This resulted in the deposition of glacial, periglacial and deglacial sediments over much of the supercontinent. The Mississippian to early Pennsylvanian phase of glaciation is widely represented along the western margin of Gondwana. This constitutes one of the largest glaciations of the Phanerozoic in terms of its recorded extent and the widespread erosional hiatus it produced in the stratigraphic record. It was this mid Carboniferous glaciation, recorded in the Paganzo Basin of NW Argentina, that carved most of the paleovalleys and paleofjords present there. We report new U-Pb zircon ages from a single glacial succession (Guandacol Formation) of 326 ± 3 Ma and 320 ± 5 Ma, that in comparison with neighbouring dated sequences allow for the first time a reliable estimate of the timing and duration of glacial cycles. Palynological studies of these glacial-deglacial events yielded palynoassemblages of the MQ (Late Visean) and DMa (Sepukhovian-Bashkirian) Palynozones. The Carboniferous glacially-related strata and glacial cycles of the Paganzo Basin are compared here with equivalent units of the Paraná Basin of SE Brazil, suggesting a similar climate record for most of western Gondwana. We propose a new correlation between these two basins. The new U-Pb zircon ages reported here indicate that a regional glacial peak occurred almost coincident with the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian boundary, suggesting that the ensuing postglacial transgression is the best regional marker to differentiate the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian as it forms an identifiable interbasinal horizon. The biostratigraphic and chronostratigraphic comparison with other LPIA successions from South America reinforces that the First Appearance Datum of monosaccate pollen grains occurs in the late Serpukhovian. Their correlation confirms that similar climate conditions prevailed across most of western Gondwana during this phase of the LPIA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109624
Number of pages23
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Early online date24 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is part of a research project supported by BG Brazil E & P Ltd. entitled “Carboniferous de-Glacial record in the Paraná Basin and its analogue in the Paganzo Basin of Argentina: Impacts on reservoir predictions”. This project was carried out in collaboration with Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), University of Aberdeen, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Universidad Nacional de San Juan (UNSJ), Argentina, and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). The authors would also like to acknowledge the ANP (Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustível) ( ANP BG 29 ) for its support to the project. Mercedes di Pasquo is grateful to Ciências Sem Fronteiras – Senior Researcher 2013 and PIP 0305 (2011-2013), PIP 0812 (2015-1017) and to CICYTTP-CONICET-ER-UADER facilities for their support. R.P. Philipp and P.S.G Paim express their thanks for the research grant from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).


  • Late Palaeozoic Ice Age
  • Paganzo Basin
  • Palynology
  • Paraná Basin
  • U-Pb zircon geochronology


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