Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 25–35 | Cite as

A 3500 Ma plutonic and volcanic calc-alkaline province in the Archaean East Pilbara Block

  • M. J. Bickle
  • L. F. Bettenay
  • M. E. Barley
  • H. J. Chapman
  • D. I. Groves
  • I. H. Campbell
  • J. R. de Laeter


Variably foliated, predominantly granodioritic plutonic rocks from the northern part of the Shaw Batholith in the east Pilbara Archaean craton are dated at 3,499±22 Ma (2σ errors) by a whole-rock Pb-Pb isochron. These rocks intrude the surrounding greenstone sequence, and their age is indistinguishable from that sequence. High strain grey gneisses which occupy much of the western and southern Shaw Batholith are chemically and isotopically similar to the North Shaw suite and are inferred to have been derived from this suite by tectonic processes. Felsic volcanics within the greenstones together with a major portion of the granitic batholiths apparently formed in a calc-alkaline volcanic and plutonic province at ∼3,500 Ma. This volcanic and plutonic suite is similar to modern calc-alkaline suites on the basis of major element, rare earh element and most other trace element contents. The Archaean suite contrasts with modern equivalents only in having lower concentrations of HREE and higher concentrations of Ni and Cr.

The average composition of the North Shaw suite is similar to that of Archaean gneiss belts for most elements and is consistent with the previously formulated hypothesis that the Shaw Batholith is transitional to the upper crustal level of a high-grade gneiss belt. Enrichment of the gneissic crust in the Shaw Batholith in alkali and heat-producing elements is inferred to have taken place by both igneous and hydrothermal processes over a protracted time interval. Late- and post-tectonic adamellite and granite melts intrude the gneissic rocks and there is isotopic evidence consistent with the gneisses being substantially enriched in Rb by pegmatite injection at ∼3,000 Ma.


Plutonic Rock Contrib Mineral Petrol Heavy Rare Earth Element Rare Earth Element Pattern Isochron 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Bickle
    • 1
  • L. F. Bettenay
    • 1
  • M. E. Barley
    • 1
  • H. J. Chapman
    • 1
  • D. I. Groves
    • 1
  • I. H. Campbell
    • 2
  • J. R. de Laeter
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. GeologyUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlands
  2. 2.Earth and Planetary Science Erindale CampusUniversity of TorontoMississaugaCanada
  3. 3.Dept. Physics and GeoscienceWestern Australian Institute of TechnologySouth Bentley

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