Abstract

Archaean sedimentary rocks of the North Spirit Lake area show little evidence of having been derived predominantly from associated Archaean volcanic rocks. Instead, compositions of the sediments reflect significant sedimentary and (or) granitoid provenance. A remarkably high content of clastic quartz in thick units of sandstone and conglomerate suggests either reworking of older quartzose sediments, or reduction of the labile constituents in quartz-rich granitoid rocks through prolonged weathering and rigorous transport. Observations for other sedimentary sequences in the region between Red Lake and Lansdowne House suggest that the North Spirit sediments are not unique in the Superior Province. Quartzose sandstones commonly are regarded as atypical of the Archaean, but such rocks arc abundant in northwestern Ontario. Frameworks of many Archaean greywackes actually are richer in quartz than typical greywackes from numerous Proterozoic and Phanerozoic sequences.The concept of rapidly rising volcanic arcs as the sole source of Archaean sedimentary detritus is rejected for the North Spirit area. The volcanies, rather than representing relicts of protocontinents, probably record events removed from initial volcanism in the history of the earth by one or more orogenic cycles. Major unconformities may therefore exist not only between sedimentary and volcanic units, but also between these units and older granitoid rocks.

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