Petrology of the Rainy Lake area, Minnesota, USA-implications for petrotectonic setting of the archean southern Wabigoon subprovince of the Canadian Shield

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

DOI: 10.1007/BF00306541



The Rainy Lake area in northern Minnesota and southwestern, Ontario is a Late Archean (2.7 Ga) granite-greenstone belt within the Wabigoon subprovince of the Canadian Shield. In Minnesota the rocks include mafic and felsic volcanic rocks, volcaniclastic, chemical sedimentary rocks, and graywacke that are intrucded by coeval gabbro, tonalite, and granodiorite. New data presented here focus on the geochemistry and petrology of the Minnesota part of the Rainy Lake area. Igneous rocks in the area are bimodal. The mafic rocks are made up of three distinct suites: (1) low-TiO2 tholeiite and gabbro that have slightly evolved Mg-numbers (63-49) and relatively flat rare-earth element (REE) patterns that range from 20-8 x chondrites (Ce/YbN=0.8-1.5); (2) high-TiO2 tholeiite with evolved Mg-numbers (46-29) and high total REE abundances that range from 70-40 x chondrites (Ce/YbN=1.8-3.3), and (3) calc-alkaline basaltic andesite and geochemically similar monzodiorite and lamprophyre with primitive Mg-numbers (79-63), enriched light rare-earth elements (LREE) and depleted heavy rare-earth elements (HREE). These three suites are not related by partial melting of a similar source or by fractional crystallization of a common parental magma; they resulted from melting of heterogeneous Archean mantle. The felsic rocks are made up of two distinct suites: (1)low-Al2O3 tholeiitic rhyolite, and (2) high-Al2O3 calc-alkaline dacite and rhyolite and consanguineous tonalite. The tholeiitic felsic rocks are high in Y, Zr, Nb, and total REE that are unfractionated and have pronounced negative Eu anomalies. The calcalkaline felsic rocks are depleted in Y, Zr, and Nb, and the REE that are highly fractionated with high LREE and depleted HREE, and display moderate negative Eu anomalies. Both suites of felsic rocks were generated by partial melting of crustal material. The most reasonable modern analog for the paleotectonic setting is an immature island arc. The bimodal volcanic rocks are intercalated with sedimentary rocks and have been intruded by pre- and syntectonic granitoid rocks. However, the geochemistry of the mafic rocks does not correlate fully with that of mafic rocks in modern are evvironments. The low-TiO2 tholeiite is similar to both N-type mid-ocean-ridge basalt (MORB) and low-K tholeiite from immature marginal basins. The calc-alkaline basaltic andesite is like that of low-K calc-alkaline mafic volcanic rocks from oceanic volcanic arcs; however, the high-TiO2 tholeiite is most similar to modern E-type MORB, which occurs in oceanic rifts. The conundrum may be explained by: (1) rifting of a pre-existing immature arc system to produce the bimodal volcanic rocks and high-TiO2 tholeiite; (2) variable enrichment of a previously depleted Archean mantle, to produce both the low- and high-TiO2 tholeiite and the calc-alkaline basaltic andesite, and/or (3) enrichment of the parental rocks of the high-TiO2 tholeiite by crustal contamination. ?? 1990 Springer-Verlag.

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Petrology of the Rainy Lake area, Minnesota, USA-implications for petrotectonic setting of the archean southern Wabigoon subprovince of the Canadian Shield
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