Contrasting geochemical patterns in the 3.7-3.8 Ga pillow basalt cores and rims, Isua greenstone belt, Southwest Greenland: Implications for postmagmatic alteration processes

Ali Polat, Albrecht W. Hofmann, Carsten Münker, Marcel Regelous, Peter W.U. Appel

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122 Citationer (Scopus)


Pillow basalts from the early Archean (3.7 to 3.8 Ga) Isua greenstone belt, West Greenland, are characterized by well-preserved rims and concentric core structures. The pillow rims and cores have different mineral assemblages, and chemical and isotopic compositions. The rims have systematically higher contents of Fe2O3, MgO, MnO, K2O, Rb, Ba, Ga, Y, and transition metals than the cores. In contrast, the cores possess higher concentrations of SiO2, Na2O, P2O5, Sr, Pb, U, Nb, and the light rare earth elements (REEs than the rims). These compositional variations in the rims and cores are likely to reflect the mobility of these elements during posteruption alteration. Variations of many major and trace element concentrations between the rims and cores of the Isua pillow basalts are comparable to those of modern pillow basalts undergoing seafloor hydrothermal alteration. Al2O3, TiO2, Th, Zr, and the heavy REEs display similar values in both rims and cores, suggesting that these elements were relatively immobile during postemplacement alteration. In addition, the rims and cores have distinctive Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr isotopic compositions in that the rims are characterized by higher 143Nd/144Nd and 87Sr/86Sr ratios than the cores. The pillow basalts yield ± 170 Ma and 1604 ± 170 Ma errorchron ages on 143Nd/144Nd vs. 147Sm/144Nd and 87Sr/86Sr vs. 87Rb/86Sr diagrams, respectively. The Sm-Nd errorchron age may correspond, within errors, to a late Archean tectonothermal metamorphic event recorded in the region. The Sm-Nd errorchron may have resulted from a combination of isotopic homogenization and preferential loss of Nd, relative to Sm, during late Archean metamorphism. Although the Rb-Sr errorchron age overlaps with the timing of an early to mid-Proterozoic tectonothermal metamorphic event recorded in the region, because of a considerably large mean square of weighted deviates value and scatter in 86Sr/87Sr and 87Rb/86Sr ratios, this age may not have a precise geological significance. The 1.6 Ga Rb-Sr errorchron is likely to have resulted from the loss of radiogenic 87Sr. Collectively, the Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr data obtained from the 3.7-3.8 Ga Isua pillow basalt rims and cores are consistent with disturbances of the Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr systems by tectonothermal metamorphic events long after their eruption. In contrast to the Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr systems, the Lu-Hf system appears to be largely undisturbed by metamorphism. Five core samples and three rim samples yield a 3935 ± 350 Ma age, within error of the approximate age of eruption (3.7 to 3.8 Ga). Two rim samples that have gained Lu give an age of 1707 ± 140 Ma, within error of the Rb-Sr errorchron age. Initial 176Hf/177Hf ratios of the undisturbed samples at 3.75 Ga lie ±1 ε-unit of the chondritic value, suggesting no long-term depletion in the mantle source of the basalts.

Sider (fra-til)441-457
Antal sider17
TidsskriftGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Udgave nummer3
StatusUdgivet - 1 feb. 2003


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