Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopes and trace element geochemistry of basalts from the Southeast Greenland margin

Andrew D. Saunders, Pamela D. Kempton, J. Godfrey Fitton, Lotte Melchior Larsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in bookResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Voluminous, subaerial magmatism resulted in the formation of extensive seaward-dipping reflector sequences (SDRS) along the Paleogene Southeast Greenland rifted margin. Drilling during Leg 163 recovered basalts from the SDRS at 66°N (Site 988) and 63°N (Sites 989 and 990). The basalt from Site 988 is light rare-earth-element (REE) enriched (La(n)/Yb(n) = 3.4), with εNd((t=60)) = 5.3, 87Sr/86Sr = 0.7034, and 206Pb/204Pb = 17.98. It is similar to tholeiites recovered from the Irminger Basin during Leg 49 and to light-REE-enriched tholeiites from Iceland. Drilling at Site 989, the innermost of the sites on the 63°N transect, was proposed to extend recovery of the earliest part of the SDRS initiated during Leg 152. These basalts are, however, younger than those from Site 917 and are compositionally similar to basalts from the more seaward Sites 990 and 915. Many of the basalts from Sites 989 and 990 show evidence of contamination by continental crust (e.g., εNd((t=60)) extends down to -3.7, 206Pb/204Pb extends down to 15.1). We suggest that the contaminant is a mixture of Archean granulite and amphibolite and that the most contaminated basalts have assimilated ~5% of crust. Uncontaminated basalts are isotopically similar to basalts from Site 918, on the main body of the SDRS, and are light-REE depleted. Consistent with previous models of the development of this margin, we show that at the time of formation of the basalts from Sites 989 and 990 (1) melting was at relatively shallow levels in a fully fledged rift zone; (2) fragments of continental crust were present in the lithosphere above the zones of melt generation; and (3) the sublithospheric mantle was dominated by a depleted Icelandic plume component.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoutheast Greenland Margin
EditorsH.C. Larsen, R.A. Duncan, J.F. Allan, K. Brooks
PublisherTexas A & M University
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program: Scientific Results
ISSN (Print)0884-5891

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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