Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 119, Issue 2–3, pp 117–141 | Cite as

Paleoproterozoic (1.90–1.86 Ga) arc volcanism in the Flin Flon Belt, Trans-Hudson Orogen, Canada

  • Richard A. Stern
  • Eric C. Syme
  • Alan H. Bailes
  • Stephen B. Lucas


Geochemical and isotopic (Nd, Sr) data are reported on Paleoproterozoic (1904–1864 Ma), maficintermediate (<63% SiO2), arc metavolcanic rocks from the Flin Flon greenstone belt, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Major element criteria permit subdivision of the rocks into tholeiitic (TH), calc-alkaline (CA), alkaline, and boninitic (BO) magma series. Subaqueously erupted, TH and related CA basalt-basaltic andesite, and rare high-Ca boninites dominated between 1904 Ma and 1890 Ma. The TH rocks are similar to modern island are tholeiites, having low high-field-strength element (HFSE) and rare earth element (REE) abundances, and chondrite-normalized light REE depletion to slight enrichment. The boninites have even lower HFSE and REE abundances (1–2X chondrites). Along with their extreme ratios of refractory incompatible elements (e.g., high Al/Ti, Ti/Zr, low Ti/V, Zr/Y), these features indicate that the arc mantle source was strongly depleted, probably residual after MORB or back-arc basin basalt extraction. Elevated Th/Yb, Ba/La, La/Nb values, and the spread in Nd isotopic compositions (initial ɛNd=−0.4 to +4.8) suggest recycling of small amounts (0–8%) of Archean and possibly older Proterozoic crust via sediment subduction and, locally, intracrustal contamination. Calcalkaline andesite-rhyolite and rare shoshonite and trachyandesite, erupted between 1890 Ma and 1864 Ma, are more strongly light REE enriched and have comparatively higher HFSE abundances, and higher Zr/Y and Nb/Y values. The rocks have strong arc trace element signatures (e.g., high Th/Nb, La/Nb), and initial ɛNd values (+2.3 to +4.6) indicate that depleted mantle contributions to the magmas continued to be dominant. The geochemistry and geology of these younger volcanic rocks suggest a mature island arc setting in which the arc lithosphere was thicker than in the previous period, and a more fertile sub-arc mantle source was tapped. The pre-1890 Ma volcanism occurred in one or more separate arcs, probably characterized by rapid subduction of oceanic lithosphere, relatively thin, tholeiitic arc crust, and extensive backarc basin formation. In contrast, post-1890 Ma volcanism is dominantly calc-alkaline to (rarely) alkaline, and is interpreted to reflect crustal thickening due to longterm growth of arc edifice(s) and tectonic thickening associated with intraoceanic arc-arc (>1870 Ma) collision and subsequent intra-arc deformation.


Mantle Source Greenstone Belt Rare Earth Element Abundance Young Volcanic Rock Extensive Backarc 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Stern
    • 1
  • Eric C. Syme
    • 2
  • Alan H. Bailes
    • 2
  • Stephen B. Lucas
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Survey of CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Mamitoba Energy and MinesWinnipegCanada

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