Abstract

Proterozoic basaltic flows (> 2000 m thick) and associated dykes and sills from the Coppermine River area, Northwest Territories have chemical compositions typical of continental tholeiites. The low Mg/Fe ratio and abundances of Ni and Cr indicate that the lavas were extensively fractionated prior to extrusion. The variations of incompatible elements such as K, Rb, REE, Y, Zr, Nb, and Th suggest that the rocks were affected by interaction with continental crust. The samples least affected by contamination have trace-element compositions very similar to those of P-type mid-ocean ridge basalts. It is suggested that continental tholeiites have been generated from the same source as P-type oceanic tholeiites, and geochemical features, such as the enrichment of some lithophile elements in many of these rocks, may be related to crustal contamination. The variations within the volcanic pile of the Coppermine River area are related to those of an exposed part of the Muskox layered intrusion.

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