A series of compositionally diverse, Late Archean rocks (2.74-2.79 Ga old) from the eastern Beartooth Mountains, Montana and Wyoming, U.S.A., have the same initial Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic ratios. Lead and Sr initial ratios are higher and Nd initial ratios lower than would be expected for rocks derived from model mantle sources and strongly indicate the involvement of an older crustal reservoir in the genesis of these rocks. Crustal contamination during emplacement can be ruled out for a variety of reasons. Instead a model involving subduction of continental detritus and contamination of the overlying mantle as is often proposed for modern subduction environments is preferred. This contaminated mantle would have all the isotopic characteristics of mantle enriched by internal mantle metasomatism but would require no long-term growth or changes in parent to daughter element ratios. This contaminated mantle would make a good source for some of the Cenozoic mafic volcanics of the Columbia River, Snake River Plain, and Yellowstone volcanic fields that are proposed to come from ancient, enriched lithospheric mantle. The isotopic characteristics of the 2.70 Ga old Stillwater Complex are a perfect match for the proposed contaminated mantle which provides an alternative to crustal contamination during emplacement. The Pb isotopic characteristics of the Late Archean rocks of the eastern Beartooth Mountains are similar to those of other Late Archean rocks of the Wyoming Province and suggest that Early Archean, upper crustal rocks were common in this terrane. The isotopic signatures of Late Archean rocks in the Wyoming Province are distinctive from those of other Archean cratons in North America which are dominated by a MORB-like, Archean mantle source (Superior Province) and/or a long-term depleted crustal source (Greenland). ?? 1988.
Additional publication details
Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic compositions of a suite of Late Archean, igneous rocks, eastern Beartooth Mountains: implications for crust-mantle evolution