Highly refractory Archaean peridotite cumulates: Petrology and geochemistry of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex, SW Greenland

Journal article


Szilas, Kristoffer, van Hinsberg, Vincent J., McDonald, Iain, Næraa, Tomas, Rollinson, Hugh, Adetunji, Jacob and Bird, Dennis 2017. Highly refractory Archaean peridotite cumulates: Petrology and geochemistry of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex, SW Greenland. Geoscience Frontiers. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2017.05.003
AuthorsSzilas, Kristoffer, van Hinsberg, Vincent J., McDonald, Iain, Næraa, Tomas, Rollinson, Hugh, Adetunji, Jacob and Bird, Dennis
Abstract

This paper investigates the petrogenesis of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex, which covers a total area of approximately 0.5 km2. The ultramafic rocks are hosted by tonalitic orthogneiss of the ca. 3000 Ma Akia terrane with crosscutting granitoid sheets providing an absolute minimum age of 2978 ± 8 Ma for the Seqi Ultramafic Complex. The Seqi rocks represent a broad range of olivine-dominated plutonic rocks with varying modal amounts of chromite, orthopyroxene and amphibole, i.e. various types of dunite (s.s.), peridotite (s.l.), as well as chromitite. The Seqi Ultramafic Complex is characterised primarily by refractory dunite, with highly forsteritic olivine with core compositions having Mg# ranging from about 91 to 93. The overall high modal contents, as well as the specific compositions, of chromite rule out that these rocks represent a fragment of Earth’s mantle. The occurrence of stratiform chromitite bands in peridotite, thin chromite layers in dunite and poikilitic orthopyroxene in peridotite instead supports the interpretation that the Seqi Ultramafic Complex represents the remnant of a fragmented layered complex or a magma conduit, which was subsequently broken up and entrained during the formation of the regional continental crust. Integrating all of the characteristics of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex points to formation of these highly refractory peridotites from an extremely magnesian (Mg# ~ 80), near-anhydrous magma, as olivine-dominated cumulates with high modal contents of chromite. It is noted that the Seqi cumulates were derived from a mantle source by extreme degrees of partial melting (>40%). This mantle source could potentially represent the precursor for the sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) in this region, which has previously been shown to be ultra-depleted. The Seqi Ultramafic Complex, as well as similar peridotite bodies in the Fiskefjord region, may thus constitute the earliest cumulates that formed during the large-scale melting event(s), which resulted in the ultra depleted cratonic keel under the North Atlantic Craton. Hence, a better understanding of such Archaean ultramafic complexes may provide constraints on the geodynamic setting of Earth’s first continents and the corresponding SCLM.

This paper investigates the petrogenesis of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex, which covers a total area of approximately 0.5 km2. The ultramafic rocks are hosted by tonalitic orthogneiss of the ca. 3000 Ma Akia terrane with crosscutting granitoid sheets providing an absolute minimum age of 2978 ± 8 Ma for the Seqi Ultramafic Complex. The Seqi rocks represent a broad range of olivine-dominated plutonic rocks with varying modal amounts of chromite, orthopyroxene and amphibole, i.e. various types of dunite (s.s.), peridotite (s.l.), as well as chromitite. The Seqi Ultramafic Complex is characterised primarily by refractory dunite, with highly forsteritic olivine with core compositions having Mg# ranging from about 91 to 93. The overall high modal contents, as well as the specific compositions, of chromite rule out that these rocks represent a fragment of Earth’s mantle. The occurrence of stratiform chromitite bands in peridotite, thin chromite layers in dunite and poikilitic orthopyroxene in peridotite instead supports the interpretation that the Seqi Ultramafic Complex represents the remnant of a fragmented layered complex or a magma conduit, which was subsequently broken up and entrained during the formation of the regional continental crust. Integrating all of the characteristics of the Seqi Ultramafic Complex points to formation of these highly refractory peridotites from an extremely magnesian (Mg# ~ 80), near-anhydrous magma, as olivine-dominated cumulates with high modal contents of chromite. It is noted that the Seqi cumulates were derived from a mantle source by extreme degrees of partial melting (>40%). This mantle source could potentially represent the precursor for the sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) in this region, which has previously been shown to be ultra-depleted. The Seqi Ultramafic Complex, as well as similar peridotite bodies in the Fiskefjord region, may thus constitute the earliest cumulates that formed during the large-scale melting event(s), which resulted in the ultra depleted cratonic keel under the North Atlantic Craton. Hence, a better understanding of such Archaean ultramafic complexes may provide constraints on the geodynamic setting of Earth’s first continents and the corresponding SCLM.

KeywordsArchaean; Ultramafic; North Atlantic craton; Dunite; Platinum-group elements; Ultra-depleted mantle; Fiskefjord
Year2017
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
PublisherElsevier
ISSN16749871
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2017.05.003
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/621658
hdl:10545/621658
Publication dates06 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Jun 2017, 15:42
Accepted21 May 2017
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Archived with thanks to Geoscience Frontiers

ContributorsStanford University, McGill University, Lund University, Cardiff University and University of Derby
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