A geochemical and petrological study of volcanic rocks in the Beardmore-Geraldton Archaean Greenstone Belt, Northwestern Ontario
Soo, Kwong Yin.
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Three repetitive sequences of northward youngIng, east striking, linear, volcano-sedimentary units are found in the late Archaean BeardmoreGeraldton greenstone belt, situated within the Wabigoon subprovince of the Superior Province of northwestern Ontario. The volcanic components are characterised by basaltic flows that are pillowed at the top and underlain by variably deformed massive flows which may In part be intrusive. Petrographic examination of the volcanic units indicates regional metamorphism up to greenschist facies (T=3250 C - 4500 C, P=2kbars) overprinted by a lower amphibolite facies thermal event (T=5750 C, P=2kbars) confined to the south-eastern portion of the belt. Chemical element results suggest olivine, plagioclase and pyroxene are the main fractionating mineral phases. Mobility studies on the varIOUS chemical elements indicate that K, Ca, Na and Sr are relatively mobile, while P, Zr, Ti, Fet (total iron = Fe203) and Mg are relatively immobile. Discriminant diagrams employing immobile element suggests that the majority of the samples are of oceanic affinity with a minor proportion displaying an island arc affinity. Such a transitional tectonic setting IS also refle.cted in REE data where two groups of volcanic samples are recognised. Oceanic tholeiites are LREE depleted with [La/Sm] N = 0.65 and a relatively flat HREE profile with [Sm/Yb] N = 1.2. Island arc type basalts (calc-alkaline) are LREE enriched, with a [La/Sm] N = 1.6, and a relatively higher fractionated HREE profile with [Sm/Yb] N = 1.9. Petrogenetic modelling performed on oceanIC tholeiites suggests derivation from a depleted spinel lherzolite source which undergoes 20% partial melting. Island arc type basalts can be derived by 10% partial melting of a hypothetical amphibolitised oceanic tholeiite source. The majority of the volcanic rocks in the Beardmore-Geraldton Belt are interpreted to represent fragments of oceanic crust trapped at a consuming plate margin. Subsequent post accretionary intrusion of gabbroic rocks (sensu lato) with calc-alkaline affinity is considered to result in the apparent hybrid tectonic setting recognized for the BGB.
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