N. A. Arestova, S. B. Lobach-Zhuchenko, and V. P. Chekulaev
Institute of the Precambrian Geology and Geochronology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg
E. G. Gus'kova
St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of the Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere, and Radio Wave Propagation (SPbF IZMIRAN), St. Petersburg
The last decade witnessed how the previously governing plate tectonic paradigm of the Earth's history gave way to the new theory of the global Earth Tectonics. From the standpoint of this theory, the Earth developed through the processes of core growth, plume tectonics, and plate tectonics, which first operated sequentially and then jointly [Devias, 1997; Kumazava and Maruyama, 1994; Maruyama et al., 1994; etc.]. In this succession of mechanisms, plume tectonics, whose refinement was contributed to by many studies of the last decade [Campbell and Griffiths, 1990, 1992; Condie, 2001; Dobretsov et al., 2001; Grachev, 1998, 2000; Maruyama, 1994; etc.], is thought to have played the leading role at early phases of the Earth's evolution. Studies by a number of workers in the Early Precambrian have shown that the plume-tectonic mechanism was dominant during the Early Precambrian stages of geologic history [Abbott, 2001; Campbell and Griffiths, 1990, 1992; Vrevsky, 2000; etc.].
The most promising approach in unraveling mechanisms that were likely to operate in the Early Precambrian is the study of compositions of basites and ultrabasites, derivatives of mantle melts, to elucidate their source composition, melting conditions, and subsequent melt evolution.
The focus of our work is on Early Precambrian (3.4-2.4 Ga) basites and ultrabasites of the eastern Fennoscandian shield. Our study draws on the recent results regarding the conditions and history of formation of Early Precambrian (Archean) crust in the eastern part of the shield [Lobach-Zhuchenko et al., 1998, 2000b, 2003]. Among these results is the conclusion that, alongside the previously established age heterogeneity of the Archean domains (Fenno-Karelian, Belomorian, and Kola) of the eastern Fennoscandian shield, there exists an age heterogeneity of the shield's largest ancient entity, the Fenno-Karelian granite-greenstone province. The oldest portion of the Fenno-Karelian granite-greenstone province is the Vodlozero domain, whose crust started forming at 3.2-3.4 Ga. Later on, the crust of the western Karelian (3.1-3.0 Ga), Kola, and Belomorian (3.0-2.9 Ga) domains began to form. The crust of the youngest, central Karelian domain is less than 2.85 Ga old. Another approach in scrutinizing mafic-ultramafic magmatism is centered on establishing the principal stages of formation and evolution of Early Precambrian crust of the shield [Lobach-Zhuchenko et al., 2001].
Detailed petrologic and geochemical studies of Early Precambrian komatiites, basalts, and mafic intrusives of the eastern Fennoscandian shield, carried out in recent years [Arestova and Glebovitsky, 2003; Chekulaev et al., 2002, 2003; Lobach-Zhuchenko et al., 1998, 2002a, 2003; Puchtel et al., 1997, 1998, 1999; Vrevsky, 2000], enabled the researchers to identify (by analogy with modern basites generated in a variety of geodynamic settings) the rocks whose generation was likely related to mantle plumes [Campbell and Griffiths, 1992; Kerr et al., 2000; etc.]. Such basites, derived from high-temperature melts, are the focus of this study.
Over the past 15 years, a large number of reliable isotope age determinations, most of which are listed in Table 1, have been carried out on Fennoscandian shield basites. These basites fall into five age groups: (1) > 3.1 Ga, (2) 2.99-2.91 Ga, (3) 2.88-2.80 Ga, (4) 2.72-2.66 Ga, and (5) 2.50-2.41 Ga. Given below is the analysis of how basites of various age groups are distributed over the area of the Fennoscandian shield and of the geochemical types of the basites constituting these age groups.
The next (and longest) stage of mafic magmatism takes the time span between 2.99-2.91 Ga. The basites of this stage are widespread within the ancient Vodlozero domain and are represented by intrusions in the central part and by volcanics (komatiites and basalts) in the marginal parts of the domain (Figure 1). This stage, which lasted ca. 75-80 m.y., is divisible into three episodes.
Basalts found in the Oster, Palaya Lamba, and Hautavaara belts along the western margin the Vodlozero domain and in the Kenozero belt at its eastern margin, have different geochemical characteristics. Thus, basalts associated with komatiites have mantle Ti/Zr ratios (100-110), unfractionated REE patterns ((La/Sm) N = 1.0-0.9 and (La/Yb) N = 1.1-1.2), and REE abundances 7-14 times the chondritic (Table 2, nos. 6, 8, 10, 12; Figure 4b). The high Ni contents ( > 100-150 ppm), Nb/Y ratios in excess of 0.1, Zr/Y ratios of 2-3, and Nb/La = 0.9-1.11 of this basaltic group, are similar to those of oceanic plateau rocks. The eNd (t) value in high-temperature uncontaminated basalts ranges from +0.5 to +3.2, suggesting source heterogeneity and/or mixing of melts from depleted and undepleted sources.
Geochemical features of the Hautavaara belt komatiites and basalts (reduced Ni contents, La/Yb > 1, Nb/La < 0.8 (Table 2, nos. 5, 6)) imply that these rocks make part of a plateau generated on continental crust. Komatiites occurring in association with basalts at Palaya Lamba are also likely to represent a fragment of a plateau generated on continental crust. This is evidenced by the surviving low-angle attitudes of volcanic flow units and by the superimposed deformations (high angle schistosity related to the subsequent accretionary phase and, at the same time, conformable to bedding planes, as should be expected in an oceanic plateau obducted onto a continental margin).
Basalts of the northern margin have a broad range of compositions. In the Shilos belt, two basalt groups are discerned (Table 2, nos. 14, 15, Figure 6b). Both basaltic groups are high temperature rocks, considerable distinctions between them occur in their Ti and Zr abundances and REE enrichment degrees. Group 1 basalts are light REE depleted ((La/Yb)N = 0.5-0.7, (La/Sm)N = 0.6) and slightly HREE depleted ((Tb/Yb)N = 1.2). Their REE contents are 2.5-3.5 times the primitive mantle (Figure 4b). Group 2 basalts have (La/Yb)N = 1.9 and (La/Sm)N = 1 and REE contents 6-8 times the PM values. Both basaltic groups lack evidence of crustal contamination; their (Nb/La)N ratio ranges of 0.8-1.5. The early stage tholeiites of the Kamennye Ozera greenstone belt (Table 2, nos. 17, 18) fall into groups with distinctive mg# (from 0.62 to 0.53) and high Cr and Ni abundances. These tholeiites are depleted in the light REE and show no crustal contamination, their (Nb/La)N ratio ranges of 0.8-1.7.
Late Archean plume within the Karelian province includes (besides the formation of high-temperature basites) the emplacement (in the 2.70-2.68 Ga time interval) of postorogenic intracratonic granitoid intrusions featured by high contents of HFS elements such as Y, Zr, Ti, and Nb [Lobach-Zhuchenko, 2002].
It is open to discussion whether or not this particular age group includes the mafic-ultramafic volcanics from greenstone belts of eastern Finland. Not inconceivably, they belong to the preceding stage. Komatiites of these belts have the following compositional parameters: 22-27% MgO at 0.80-0.77 mg# and 9.5-19.8% MgO at 0.76-0.50 mg#; CaO/Al2O3 ratios of 0.72-0.87, Al2O3/TiO2 = 16-17, and Ti/Zr = 110; and Ni contents of 800-1500 ppm and 300-650 ppm [Gruau et al., 1990; Jahn et al., 1980]. In this age group, komatiites make three sub-groups with dissimilar REE patterns: (1) light REE depleted ((La/Sm)N = 0.3-0.6 and (Gd/Yb)N of ca. 1.0); (2) with a flat REE pattern or a slight LREE enrichment ((La/Sm)N of ca. 1 and (Gd/Yb)N = 1.0-1.32); and (3) with REE abundances 1.5-2 times the mantle values and HREE depletion ((La/Sm)N = 0.7-0.95 and (Gd/Yb)N = 1.7-1.4). The basalts are also divisible into three groups: (1) uncontaminated, with Ti/Zr ratios of 100-110, (La/Sm) = 0.62, (Gd/Yb)N of ca. 1.0, (La/Sm)N of ca. 1.0-0.96, and (La/Yb)N of ca. 1.0, and with REE abundances 7-20 times the chondritic; (2) contaminated, with Ti/Zr = 70, (La/Sm)N of ca. 1.5-2, and (La/Yb)N of ca. 2-4; (3) subalkaline basalts with a high mg# (0.60), relatively high total alkali abundances (up to 6%) and Rb, and high Zr, P2O5, and REE. These rocks also have fractionated REE patterns ((La/Sm)N of ca. 4 and (Gd/Yb)N of ca. 4). The existence within the same greenstone structure of such a broad compositional variety of high-temperature volcanics is in good agreement with their plume origin and is not inconsistent with eruptions in a rifted continental margin setting.
Melts initial to the high-Mg rocks with elevated silica contents and low Ti/Zr ratios may have been generated in three ways: (1) melting of water saturated mantle wedge in subduction zones (boninite model), (2) assimilation of felsic crustal material by mantle melt, and (3) mixing of high-temperature plume melts with partial melts of depleted harzburgitic lithospheric mantle. The boninite model for drusite melt generation is at odds with the high TiO2 contents and the low Al2O3/TiO2 ratio. Besides, oxygen isotope composition data from igneous minerals in the drusites ( d18 O ranging 8-4) testify to their crystallization from dry melts [Salye et al., 1983]. The fact that the drusites are light REE enriched and have high Ni (600 ppm or more) with at least 15% MgO is rather suggestive of a plume nature for their parental melt [Campbell and Griffiths, 1992].
Analyzing the timing, spatial position, and distribution of Early Precambrian basites throughout the Fennoscandian shield point to a number of regularities. Although it is impossible to establish the duration of the earliest radiometrically dated stage of mafic magmatism, it can be ascertained that each successive stage spans a time interval of 70-80 m.y. The early stages of high-temperature mafic magmatism ( > 3.1 and 2.99-2.91 Ga) are confined to the most ancient core of continental crust on the Fennoscandian shield; namely, the Vodlozero domain with crustal age of 3.2-3.4 Ga. The first long-lasting stage of mafic magmatism (2.99-2.91 Ga) took place following a pattern that is classical to a number of modern plumes, and in which the first occurrences of high-temperature plume magmatism emerge in the central part of the continent, and subsequent ones, in its marginal parts. In the case in point, such first occurrence is the Lairuchei intrusion (2.99 Ga, in the central part of the Vodlozero domain) with the subsequent komatiite and high-temperature basalt volcanism along the western and eastern margins of the domain (2.94-2.96 Ga) and, possibly, at its northern margin (2.91 Ga). In all likelihood, beneath the Vodlozero domain there existed a deep seated plume (super-plume, or a first order plume, to use the terminology of Dobretsov and co-workers) that was rising from the interface between the core and the lower mantle. This particular inference is favored by the fact that the Nd isotope characteristics of a number of komatiites and mafic intrusions are explicable assuming mixing of melts derived from undepleted and depleted mantle sources or contamination of an undepleted mantle melt by crustal material. The rising mantle plume generated rift structures near the boundary and at the margins of the Vodlozero domain. Brittle deformations that caused rifting related to the rising mantle plume did not result in breakup of the newly formed continental crust. The dominant values of model Nd ages (T DM ) in the 2.9-3.0 Ga time interval, obtained from rocks derivative from basalts that make up the younger domains [Lobach-Zhuchenko et al., 2000a, 2000b], suggest that basalts of this age were developed over a significant area outside the Vodlozero domain.
The next stage of high-temperature mafic magmatism (2.88-2.80 Ga) is expressed within the Kola and western Karelian domains with crustal ages of 3.0 and 3.1 Ga and on the north of the younger, central Karelian domain. Generation of komatiites and high-temperature tholeiite lavas in these domains provides evidence of a super-plume that ascended within these domains. The ascent of this plume initiated rifts beneath the continental crust of the Kola and western Karelian domains and beneath the oceanic plateau in the northern part of what is now the central Karelian domain. According to [Vrevsky, 2000], the higher liquidus temperatures for the komatiites from greenstone belts of the Kola domain and the greater depth of generation of their initial melts, as compared to the liquidus temperatures for the older komatiites from the Vodlozero domain, should imply a higher ascent for the early plume.
As the deep mantle plume ascended beneath the northern to northwestern part of the shield, its south-southeastern part (namely, the northwest margin of the Vodlozero domain) provided the stage for extensive development of mafic magmatism and granitoids with ages of 2.85-2.80 Ga, whose generation is attributed to underplating [Lobach-Zhuchenko et al., 1999]. These facts suggest the existence, in parallel to the superplume, of another plume that may have been less deep seated, and that was initiated at the interface between the lower mantle and the upper mantle, inasmuch as this magmatism immediately postdated the termination of subduction processes at the western margin of the Vodlozero domain. The ascent of this mantle plume may have been triggered by mantle slab sinking to the interface between the lower mantle and the upper mantle.
The last of the Archean stages of high-temperature mafic magmatism with ages of 2.72-2.66 Ga occurs in the north Karelian belts, in the Karelian part of the Belomorian area (the regions of Lake Notozero and the Tupaya Guba Bay of Lake Kovdozero) and, possibly, in the western Karelian domain. This magmatism took place also immediately after the subduction processes at the boundary of the Karelian and Belomorian domains. Accordingly, the mantle plume that ensured generation of high-temperature mafic melts, rose from the interface between the lower mantle and the upper mantle immediately following the end of the subduction processes. The majority of high-temperature melts, of both volcanic and plutonic provenance alike, suffered crustal contamination, which points to the existence of thick continental crust.
Early Proterozoic high-temperature mafic magmatism at 2.50-2.41 Ga was the most extensive areally and the longest lasting on the Fennoscandian shield. Nearly all the researchers of high-temperature basites of this stage attribute this magmatism to the ascent of an extensive deep super-plume [Amelin and Semenov, 1996; Arestova and Lobach-Zhuchenko, 1996; Hanski et al., 2001; Lobach-Zhuchenko et al., 1998; Puchtel et al., 1997; etc.]. Circumstantial evidence for the existence, in the 2.5-2.41 Ga time interval, of a long lived heat source that occupied virtually the entire area of what is now the Fennoscandian shield may be provided by paleomagnetic data. Nearly all the Archean basites measured yielded an additional magnetic component, whose age is estimated at 2.5-2.45 Ga [Arestova et al., 1999, 2000]. A hallmark of the mafic rocks of this stage is that all the volcanic and plutonic varieties without exception show varying degrees of crustal contamination, which is a further evidence that by the beginning of the Early Proterozoic there had been formed a thick continental crust, probably continuous beneath the entire eastern (Archean) part of the Fennoscandian shield.
Our analysis of the spatial position, timing, distribution, and geochemical characteristics of the high-temperature Early Precambrian basites of the Baltic shield suggests the following conclusions:
1. In the Early Precambrian of the Baltic shield (3.4-2.4 Ga), established are five stages of high-temperature mafic-ultramafic magmatism, most of which is attributable to the action of the plume-tectonic mechanism that ensured the inflow of lower mantle material and heat to cause melting in the upper mantle and crust.
2. The plume-derived high-temperature komatiitic melts, showing no crustal contamination and originating from depleted sources, are heterogeneous in terms of their Nd isotope compositions; accordingly, they either are derivatives from second-order plumes or result from mixing of plume material and plume-entrained portions of depleted upper mantle.
3. The plume-derived melts intruded both the newly formed continental crust and surviving oceanic crust, giving rise to deep-seated intrusions in the rather thick continental crust and to volcanics in continental and oceanic plateau settings. As a rule, intraplate rifting occurred in marginal parts of the sialic domains.
4. The process of interaction between initial mafic melts and crustal material (plume-crustal interaction) is established starting from the second recorded stage of mafic-ultramafic magmatism.
5. With increasing thickness of the continental crust of the Baltic shield, the degree of crustal contamination of mafic melts became progressively higher, to reach a maximum at the end of the Archean and beginning of the Proterozoic, during the fourth and, especially, the fifth stage of magmatism.
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