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The 1.65–1.54 Ga rapakivi granites of southeastern Fennoscandia represent the silicic members of a bimodal magmatic association in which the mafic members are tholeiitic diabase dykes and minor gabbroic-anorthositic bodies. They are metaluminous to slightly peraluminous A-type granites and occur as high-level batholiths and stocks in an E–W-trending belt extending from Soviet Karelia to southwestern Finland. The Soviet Karelian granites were emplaced into the contact zone between Archaean craton and Svecofennian juvenile 1.9 Ga-old crust, while the Finnish granites were intruded into the Svecofennian crust. Deep seismic soundings show that the rapakivi granites and the contemporaneous, mainly WNW or NW-trending diabase dyke swarms are situated in a zone of relatively thin crust. Below the Wiborg Batholith there exists a domal structure in the lithosphere in which a transitional zone (mafic underplate) occurs between the crust and the mantle.

The Nd isotopic evolution of the rapakivi granites (εNd(T)−3.1–−0.2) corresponds to the evolution of the 1.9 Ga-old Svecofennian crust, as do their Pb isotopic compositions. This implies that the Finnish granites represent anatectic melts of the Svecofennian crust. In contrast, the Soviet Karelian granites show isotopic composition indicative of substantial incorporation of Archaean lower crust material. Petrochemical modelling of one of the Finnish batholiths shows that its parental magma could have been generated by c. 20% melting of a granodioritic source and that fractional crystallisation was important during the subsequent evolution of this magma.

The rapakivi granites are redefined as A-type granites that show the rapakivi texture at least in larger batholiths. The field, geochemical, and seismic data indicate that the classical Finnish rapakivi granites were generated in an anorogenic extensional regime by partial melting of the lower/middle crust. The melting, and possibly also the extensional tectonics, were related to upwellings of hot mantle material which led to intrusion of mafic magmas at the base and into the crust.

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