Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 163–179 | Cite as

Chemical characteristics and genesis of the quartz-feldspathic rocks in the Archean crust of Greenland

  • K. H. Wedepohl
  • H. Heinrichs
  • D. Bridgwater


A total of 108 samples of meta-tonalites, metagranodiorites, granites and meta-tholeiites representing groups of Early to Late Archean age and different metamorphic history from SW and SE Greenland have been analyzed for Ca, K and 28 trace elements. There is no systematic change of the chemical composition with age observable. The results support petrologic experiments which suggest that tonalites and granodiorites (the most abundant rocks of the Archean crust) are partial melting products of a mafic lower crust. Modelling suggest that this crust consisted of garnet amphibolite derived from a source with a bulk composition resembling a slightly enriched rather than depleted mantle. The CeN/YbN ratio is above 10 in the majority of tonalites. Most samples have no Eu anomaly because of a balanced contribution from the minerals of a mafic rock (or a plagioclase-free source). The positive Eu anomaly of some granodiorites and of a minor proportion of tonalites can be explained as being caused by plagioclase accumulation during differentiation or by partial melting of plagioclase-rich fractions. Modelling with Zn excludes an origin of tonalitic melts by differentiation of basaltic to dioritic magmas. The Archean meta-diorites, meta-tonalites and meta-granodiorites from Greenland have generally lost some K and S relative to their suggested magmatic protoliths. Loss of Rb, Tl, Pb and K and relative gain of Ca, Sr, Ba and Sc connected with granulitization of meta-tonalites can be explained in the majority of cases by separation of about 25 percent granitic partial melt. High K/Rb, K/Pb, Zn/Cd and Nb/Th ratios of granulites plus low ratios of granites are almost in balance with intermediate ratios of amphibolite-facies tonalites. Retrogression of granulites into amphibolites was accompanied by introduction of Pb, Tl, Rb, Ba, Sr and K from Na-Cl-rich brines circulating on fractures. A comparison of the abundance of 24 elements (characterized by different compatibility) in the Archean crust of Greenland with the present bulk crust reflects only minor changes (Th, Nb) if at-all in the chemical composition of the continental crust since the Archean.


Continental Crust Mafic Rock Garnet Amphibolite Metamorphic History Melting Product 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. H. Wedepohl
    • 1
  • H. Heinrichs
    • 1
  • D. Bridgwater
    • 2
  1. 1.Geochemisches InstitutGöttingenFRG
  2. 2.Geologisk MuseumKøbenhavns UniversitetKøbenhavnDanmark

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