Depositional and tectonic setting of the Paleoproterozoic Lower Aillik Group, Makkovik Province, Canada

Evolution of a passive margin-foredeep sequence based on petrochemistry and U-Pb (TIMS and LAM-ICP-MS) geochronology

John W F Ketchum, Simon E. Jackson, Nicholas G. Culshaw, Sandra M. Barr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    91 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The Paleoproterozoic Lower Aillik Group is a deformed metasedimentary-metavolcanic succession located in the Makkovik Province of Labrador, eastern Canada. The group is situated near the boundary between reworked Archaean gneiss of the Nain (North Atlantic) craton and juvenile Paleoproterozoic crust that was both tectonically accreted and formed on or adjacent to this craton during the ca. 1.9-1.78 Ma Makkovikian orogeny. The Lower Aillik Group is structurally underlain by Archaean gneiss and structurally overlain by ca. 1860-1807 Ma bimodal, dominantly felsic volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks of the Upper Aillik Group. We present geochemical data from metavolcanic rocks and U-Pb geochronological data from several units of the Lower Aillik Group in order to address the depositional and tectonic history of this group. U-Pb data were obtained using both thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and laser ablation microprobe-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LAM-ICP-MS). Two quartzite units near the structural base of the Lower Aillik Group contain detrital zircons only of Archaean age, and are interpreted to have been deposited on the Nain craton during post-2235 Ma rifting and initiation of a passive continental margin. Overlying mafic metavolcanic rocks contain thin horizons of intermediate tuff one of which is dated at 2178 ± 4 Ma. This relatively old age, and an inferred stratigraphic relationship with underlying sedimentary units, suggest that the volcanic rocks represent transitional oceanic crust, consistent with their geochemical similarity to tholeiitic rifted margin sequences of Mesozoic age in eastern North America. A package of interlayered psammitic and semipelitic metasedimentary rocks that appears to stratigraphically overlie the mafic volcanic unit is dominated by Paleoproterozoic detrital zircons but also contains Archaean grains. This package was deposited after 2013 Ma, the age of the youngest concordant zircon. The U-Pb data imply a minimum 165 m.y. time gap between mafic volcanism and sedimentation, and are consistent with deposition of the psammite-semipelite unit in an evolving foredeep that heralded the approach of a Paleoproterozoic arc terrane. Accretion of this terrane to the Nain cratonic margin at ca. 1.9 Ga initiated the Makkovikian orogeny. Although the Lower Aillik Group is highly deformed and may contain internal tectonic boundaries or be incomplete, the U-Pb and geochemical data allow quantitative assessment of a prolonged rift-drift-basin closure cycle that characterized the Early Paleoproterozoic evolution of the southern Nain cratonic margin.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)331-356
    Number of pages26
    JournalPrecambrian Research
    Volume105
    Issue number2-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2001

    Keywords

    • LAM-ICP-MS
    • Laurentia
    • Lower Aillik Group
    • Makkovik Province
    • Nain craton
    • Paleoproterozoic
    • U-Pb geochronology

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