A back-arc origin for the Neoarchean megacrystic anorthosite-bearing Bird River Sill and the associated greenstone belt, Bird River subprovince, Western Superior Province, Manitoba, Canada

Abstract

This study presents extensive new field, petrographic, and whole-rock major and trace element and Sm–Nd and Pb isotope data for the Neoarchean megacrystic anorthosite-bearing Bird River Sill, spatially associated Neoarchean supracrustal rocks of the Bird River greenstone belt, and the Mesoarchean Maskwa Lake TTG Batholith I, Manitoba, Canada. Field observations indicate that the 2743 Ma Bird River Sill was emplaced into the Northern Lamprey Falls Formation in an oceanic setting and subsequently intruded by the ca. 2725 Ma Maskwa Lake Batholith II. The Northern Lamprey Falls Formation is in fault contact with the overlying Peterson Creek Formation, which in turn is unconformably overlain by the Bird River Formation. The peridotites of the Bird River Sill were subjected to intense alteration and ductile shearing, resulting in the redistribution of many major and trace elements and resetting of their Sm–Nd and U–Th–Pb isotopic systems. The gabbro, leucogabbro, and anorthosite units of the sill largely retain their primary igneous textures and minerals, REE and HFSE compositions, and Sm–Nd and Pb isotope signatures. These geochemical and petrographic data indicate that these units of the Bird River Sill crystallised from a hydrous, Ca- and Al-rich tholeiitic magma that fractionated from a hydrous primitive arc tholeiitic parental magma. The major and trace element geochemistry and initial εNd values of the Bird River Sill (+ 0.53 to + 4.72) and the Northern Lamprey Falls Formation (+ 1.40 to + 2.66) of the Bird River greenstone belt crystallised from parental magma batches that were derived by partial melting of variably-depleted mantle sources. High-magnesian andesites from the Bird River Formation formed by partial melting of subducting oceanic crust and/or slab sediments and subsequent interaction with sub-arc mantle peridotite, whereas the Peterson Creek Formation dacites and Maskwa Lake TTG Batholith I tonalites formed by partial melting of juvenile lower arc crust. The major and trace element geochemistry of the Bird River Sill and greenstone belt and the Maskwa Lake TTG Batholith I, and geological relationships and lithological associations point to a transition from continental arc to continental back-arc magmatism along the southern active margin of the North Caribou terrane at ca. 2743 Ma, resulting in the formation of the Maskwa Lake microcontinent that occurred prior to subsequent continental arc magmatism along the southern margin of this microcontinent. Combined field observations and geochemical data indicate that the Bird River Sill and Bird River greenstone belt are a dismembered Archean subduction-related ophiolite that marks a suture zone between the Winnipeg River subprovince and the Maskwa Lake microcontinent.

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Fig. 1

(modified after Furnes et al. 2015; Ashwal and Bybee 2017). The Archean anorthosite-bearing layered intrusions occurrences are from Ashwal (1993, 2010), Hoffmann et al. (2012), Santosh et al. (2013), Souders et al. (2013), Yang et al. (2013), Yang and Gilbert (2014), Ashwal and Bybee (2017), Piaia et al. (2017), Polat et al. (2018) and Sotiriou et al. (2019)

Fig. 2

(modified after Percival et al. 2012). b Simplified map of Canada showing its location in North America and the location of the study area

Fig. 3

(modified from Bécu et al. 2013; Yang et al. 2013; Yang and Gilbert 2014)

Fig. 4
Fig. 5

(modified after Yang and Gilbert 2014). The approximate stratigraphic locations of samples taken from the Bird River Sill are indicated by the stars. a Gabbro with a well-preserved cumulate texture and very little primary mineralogy remaining. b, c Leucogabbros with very well-preserved cumulate textures, magmatic plagioclase megacrysts and magmatic amphibole (hornblende). d Fragmented and strongly sheared chromites within chromitite. e Strongly serpentinised peridotites interlayered with a well-preserved chromitite layer. plag plagioclase, act actinolite, cpx clinopyroxene, hbl hornblende

Fig. 6
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Acknowledgements

This research is supported by a NSERC Discovery Grant (No. RGPIN-2014-04906) to A. Polat. We thank an anonymous reviewer and Robert Lodge for providing constructive and helpful comments. Melissa Price is acknowledged for providing sound advice and support during optical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy work conducted at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Windsor, by P. Sotiriou. Sharon Lackie is thanked for assisting P. Sotiriou during SEM and Raman spectroscopy work conducted at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor. We thank Gossan Resources Limited for allowing us to do fieldwork on its property.

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Correspondence to Paul Sotiriou.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary Table 1.

Major (wt.%) and trace (ppm) element data for anorthosites,leucogabbros, gabbros, peridotites and chromitites from the Bird River Sill.(XLSX 29 kb)

Supplementary Table 2

Major (wt.%) and trace (ppm) element data for basalts, gabbros,dacites, andesites, and greywackes from the Bird River greenstone belt and tonalites from theMaskwa Lake TTG Batholith I (MLB). (XLSX 22 kb)

Supplementary Table 3.

Standard and duplicate analyses results. (XLSX 41 kb)

Supplementary Table 4.

Selected SEM analyses of plagioclases, amphiboles and chromitesand chromite-hosted inclusions from the Bird River Sill. (XLSX 50 kb)

Supplementary Table 5.

Main Raman spectra peak values for selected chromites andchromite-hosted inclusions from the Bird River Sill. (XLSX 12 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 1.

Field photographs 1438 of the Bird River greenstone belt and the MaskwaLake Batholith I. (a) Conglomerate with rounded clasts from the Booster Lake Formation. (b)Greywacke from the Bird River Formation. (c) Coarse-grained tonalite from the MaskwaLake Batholith I. (JPEG 1295 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 2.

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) back-scatter electron images of(a–c) a leucogabbro and (d–f) chromitites from the Bird River Sill. Images a–c show thatcumulate textures and primary minerals are generally well-preserved in leucogabbro BR2017-19, however, amphibole (amp) has been partially altered to secondary actinolite (act) and plagioclase (plag) has also been partially altered. The chromites (chr) in the chromitites in d–fcontain inclusions comprised of augite (aug), albite (alb), enstatite (ens) and chalcopyrite (cpy).The matrix adjacent to the chromites is comprised of secondary actinolite (act). (JPEG 1322 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 3

. SEM back-scatter electron images of chromitites (a–f) from the BirdRiver Sill. These images show that an actinolite (act) matrix occurs adjacent to chromites (chr) that host inclusions of augite (aug), diopside (diop) and enstatite (ens). (JPEG 1249 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 4

. Simplified geological map of the Kohistan arc and the adjacent Indian and Karakoram (Eurasian) plates (modified after Jagoutz et al. 2007, and based on information from Hébert et al. 2012; Petterson 2018).(JPEG 823 kb)

Appendix 1

. Petrography of the Bird River Sill, Bird River greenstone belt and Maskwa1484 Lake Batholith I. (DOCX 15 kb)

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Sotiriou, P., Polat, A., Frei, R. et al. A back-arc origin for the Neoarchean megacrystic anorthosite-bearing Bird River Sill and the associated greenstone belt, Bird River subprovince, Western Superior Province, Manitoba, Canada. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) 108, 2177–2207 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-019-01756-0

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Keywords

  • Archean
  • Bird River Sill
  • Anorthosite
  • Bird River greenstone belt
  • Bird River subprovince
  • Superior Province