Abstract

U–Pb dating was carried out on nine volcanic rocks and two felsic intrusions from the Red Lake greenstone belt in order to establish an absolute time framework for the magmatic evolution of the area and yield first indications on the time of deformation and gold mineralization.The data indicate a protracted period of igneous activity spanning at least 270 Ma. Felsic volcanic rocks near the top of the tholeiitic to komatiitic sequence in the eastern part of the belt yield ages of graphic and graphic. A third unit, dated at graphic, contains inherited zircons older than 2982 Ma, which casts some uncertainty on the validity of the inferred intercept age. Rocks in the western part of the belt, previously believed to form a relatively young calc-alkalic sequence but now known to be dominantly tholeiitic, are shown to be relatively old, with ages of graphic and graphic. These two dates also bracket the age of stromatolites occurring in chemical sediments that are under and overlain by the dated units.Another volcanic horizon in the centre of the belt is dated at 2830 ± 15 Ma, and calc-alkaline volcanic sequences on the southern and northern flanks of the belt yield ages of 2739.0 ± 3.0 and graphic, respectively. An age of graphic was determined for tholeiitic pyroclastic rocks near the base of the predominantly calc-alkaline Heyson sequence.The major gold deposits of the Red Lake belt appear to be present dominantly within older supracrustal sequences. On the other hand, they are also associated with late deformation zones that postdate the intrusion of the Dome Stock dated at 2718.2 ± 1.1 Ma ago. The time of an earlier folding event is bracketed by this age and by the age of graphic for an isoclinally folded felsic dike.

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