Publication Type:

Book Chapter


Oceanic plateaus and hotspot islands; identification and role in continental growth, Elsevier, Amsterdam, International, Volume 46, p.103-136 (1999)




accretion, Archean, Canadian Shield, geochemistry, Greenstone Belts, igneous rocks, KOMATIITE, magmatism, mantle, mantle plumes, Mesoarchean, metals, metamorphic belts, Neoarchean, North America, petrography, plate tectonics, Precambrian, rare earths, rifting, superior province, ultramafic composition, volcanic rocks, VOLCANISM


The greenstone belts of the western Superior Province are predominantly 2.78 to 2.69 Ga and provide evidence of oceanic and arc volcanism during the accretionary phase of development of the Superior Province. There is also scattered evidence of Meso-Archean crust (predominantly 2.9 to 3.0 Ga) within the western Superior Province. The Meso-Archean greenstone belts commonly contain platformal sediments and unconformably overlie granitoid basement. The platformal sediments occur associated with komatiitic and tholeiitic volcanic rocks that suggest a history of magmatism associated with rifting during the Meso-Archean. The central Wabigoon Subprovince is a key area of Meso-Archean crust and in its southern portion comprises the Steep Rock, Finlayson and Lumby Lake greenstone belts. The Steep Rock greenstone belt unconformably overlies 3 Ga continental basement and contains platformal sediments succeeded by komatiitic and tholeiitic volcanic rocks. The Lumby Lake greenstone belt contains thick sequences of mafic volcanics, a number of komatiite horizons, and thin platformal sedimentary units. The two belts are joined by the predominantly mafic volcanic Finlayson greenstone belt. The volcanics throughout these three greenstone belts may be correlated to some extent and a range of basaltic and komatiite types is present. Al-undepleted komatiites present in the Lumby Lake greenstone belt have an Al (sub 2) O (sub 3) /TiO (sub 2) ratio ranging from 14 to 27 and (Gd/Yb) (sub N) from 0.7 to 1.3. These are divided into basaltic komatiites with generally unfractionated mantle-normalised multi-element profiles, and spinifex-textured high-Mg basalts with slightly light REE enriched multi-element profiles and small negative Nb and Ta anomalies. The unfractionated basaltic komatiites represent high degree partial melts of the upper mantle whereas the spinifex-textured high-Mg basalts represent evolutionary products of the komatiite liquids following olivine and chromite fractionation and crustal contamination. Al-depleted komatiites are present in both the Lumby Lake and Steep Rock belts and have Al (sub 2) O (sub 3) /TiO (sub 2) ratio ranges from 2.5 to 5. These display strong enrichment in the light REE and Nb and strong depletion in the heavy REE and Y ((Gd/Yb) (sub N) = 2-4). They represent a deep mantle plume source generated from a high degree of partial melting in the majorite garnet stability field. The basaltic flows in all three greenstone belts are predominantly slightly light REE depleted and represent a slightly depleted upper mantle source. Basalts spatially associated with the unfractionated basaltic komatiites and the slightly light REE enriched spinifex-textured high-Mg basalts are also slightly enriched in light REE and have negative Nb and Ta anomalies. These basalts represent evolved products of the primitive basaltic komatiites and enriched spinifex-textured high-Mg basalts after further crustal contamination and olivine and clinopyroxene fractionation. The geochemical stratigraphy in the Lumby Lake belt is consistent with an ascending mantle plume model. The light REE depleted basalts were derived from upper mantle melted by an ascending mantle plume. These are overlain by the unfractionated basaltic komatiites and their evolutionary products which represent hotter plume head material derived from a mixture of plume mantle and entrained depleted upper mantle. In turn, these are overlain by strongly light REE and HFSE enriched komatiites that represent a deep plume source that has not been mixed with depleted mantle and are, therefore, likely to have been derived from a plume core or tail. Volcanism was protracted in these three greenstone belts lasting ca. 70 Ma and combined stratigraphic evidence from the Lumby Lake and Steep Rock belts suggests that more than one plume may have ascended and tapped the same mantle sources, over time, within the area. Plume magmatism and rifting of continental platforms thus appears to have been an important feature of crustal development in the Meso-Archean. Abstract Copyrigh (1999) Elsevier, B.V.


GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geological Institute.<br/>1999-019965<br/>Finlayson Belt<br/>Lumby Lake Belt<br/>Steep Rock Belt