Abstract

The average 18O/16O ratios of the major rock types of the surface crystalline rocks in different parts of the Canadian Precambrian Shield have been determined, using 47 composite samples prepared from 2221 individual rock specimens. The sampling areas include Baffin Island, northern and southwestern Quebec, Battle Harbour – Cartwright, northern District of Keewatin, Fort Enterprise, Snowbird Lake, Kasmere Lake, and Saskatchewan, covering approximately 1 400 000 km2. The granitic rocks from the Superior, Slave, and Churchill Provinces vary only slightly from region to region (δ18O = 6.9–8.4‰) and are significantly lower in 18O than similar rock types from the younger Grenville Province (δ = 9.2–10.0‰). The sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks have δ18O = 9.0–11.7‰ and hence are considerably lower than their Phanerozoic equivalents, possibly reflecting the presence of a high percentage of little-altered igneous rock detritus in the original sediments. The basic rocks in most regions fall within a δ18O range of 6.8–7.6‰, except in northern and southwestern Quebec where the δ-values are abnormally high (8.5–8.9‰). The overall average 18O/16O ratio of the surface crystalline rocks of the Canadian Shield is estimated to be 8.0‰, which represents an enrichment with respect to probable mantle derived starting materials by about 2‰.

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