Abstract

U–Pb zircon and sphene data for several phases of composite batholiths in the Favourable Lake area of the Superior Province indicate two major periods of plutonism separated by a hiatus of over 200 Ma.A trondhjemite, which now forms a metamorphosed remnant within a batholith, was emplaced 2950 ± 5 Ma ago during an early plutonic event. The second and dominant plutonic period occurred between graphic and 2711.0 ± 2.0 Ma ago; these are the ages of the earliest and the latest widespread phase of the batholiths, respectively. Ages of 2716.3 ± 1.4 and 2716 ± 4 Ma for zircons of two minor dioritic phases also fall within this interval. Metamorphic zircons about 2730 and 2715 Ma old from another unit of the batholith indicate a temporal correlation between metamorphism and main plutonic pulses.Sphenes from two samples near the margins of the batholiths yield the same age of 2711 ± 2 Ma as coexisting zircons and date the primary crystallization of the rocks. In contrast, sphenes from six samples from the interior of a batholith yield ages of 2680 ± 10 Ma, which are significantly younger than primary ages of 2950–2716 Ma of coexisting zircons. These sphene ages probably record cooling below about 500 °C during a long and complex cooling process.Several of the studied zircon populations exhibit complex discordance patterns reflecting multiple stages of Pb loss. Zircons in rocks predating the 2700–2730 Ma old metamorphic–plutonic event experienced Pb loss during this event, probably by annealing. A second low-grade event apparently caused chemical alteration of high-U zircon domains and Pb loss about 1750 Ma ago. A late stage of Pb loss affected near-surface zircon domains about 600–0 Ma ago.

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