The Crowsnest Formation consists of trachytes, analcime phonolites and blairmorites, metamorphosed to zeolite facies. The latter rocks contain large analcime phenocrysts variously suggested as being of primary igneous origin or due to transformation from original leucite by reaction of Na-rich fluids. Although neither field relationships or petrography provide convincing data favouring either hypothesis, the presence of primary undisrupted inclusion trails in the analcime tend to support the former hypothesis. Compositions of the analcimes differ from that of an analcime formed by transformation from leucite. The chemistry of the rocks and their constituent pyroxenes are consistent with a sodic rather than a potassic differentiation trend; feldspar and garnet analyses support this conclusion. Oxygen isotope values for the pyroxenes indicate no extensive exchange with a low temperature fluid. Thus it seems unlikely that leucite was ever a constituent of the Crowsnest suite as necessitated by the hypothesis of transformation from leucite. Geochemistry and known experimental data indicate that the analcime phonolites and blairmorites differentiated from a trachytic magma under restricted conditions at depths greater than 25 km by early sanidine and later analcime fractionation. The parental trachyte may be produced by partial fusion of crustal material at depths greater than 35 km.

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