ABSTRACT: The complex stratigraphy of late Paleozoic rocks in the southern Darwin Hills consists of regionally extensive Mississippian and Early to Middle Pennsylvanian rocks overlain by latest Pennsylvanian to Early Permian rocks, herein called the Darwin Hills sequence. Deposition of this latter sequence marked the beginning of the Darwin Basin. In Mississippian time, a carbonate platform prograded westward over slightly older slope deposits. In the Late Mississippian this platform was exposed to erosion and siliciclastic sediments were deposited. In Early to Middle Pennsylvanian time the area subsided, forming a west-facing ramp that was subjected to deformation and erosion in Middle or early Late Pennsylvanian time. Later this area was tilted westward and deep-water sediments were deposited on this slope. In latest Pennsylvanian to earliest Permian time, a major channel was cut through the older Pennsylvanian rocks and into the Upper Mississippian strata. This channel was gradually filled with increasingly finer grained, deep-water sediment as the area evolved into a basin floor by Early Permian (Sakmarian) time. Expansion of the Darwin Basin in Artinskian time led to a second phase of deposition represented by strata of the regionally extensive Darwin Canyon Formation. The geology in this small area thus documents tectonic events occurring during the early development of the Darwin Basin.
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