Abstract

In the northeastern part of the Abitibi orogenic belt, the Archean Matagami–Chibougamou greenstone belt (2700 Ma) includes a basal volcanic sequence named the Roy Group, unconformably overlain by a volcano-sedimentary series called the Opemisca Group.The Roy Group, to the west of the town of Chapais, consists of a thick, stratified, and polycyclic volcanic series (thickness = 11 000 m) resembling the large, western Abitibi submarine stratovolcanoes constructed by three mafic to felsic magmatic cycles. The first cycle (Chrissie Formation) shows lateral spreading and is composed only of a meta-andesite and felsic pyroclastite sequence of calc-alkaline affinity. The other two cycles (Obatogamau and Waconichi formations; then Gilman, Blondeau, and Scorpio formations) are characterized by a sequence of repeated MORB type basaltic lava flows of tholeiitic affinity and by intermediate to acid lava and pyroclastic sequences calc-alkaline affinity.The stratigraphic and petrographic data suggest emplacement of mafic lavas on an abyssal plain (Obatogamau Formation) or at a later time on the flanks of a large submarine volcanic shield (Gilman and Blondeau formations). The lava and felsic pyroclastite flows were formed by very explosive eruptions from central spreading type volcanoes above a pre-existing continental crust. In particular, the Scorpio volcanic rocks were emplaced on volcanic islands later dismantled by erosion.The contents and distribution of trace elements and rare earths show that basaltic lavas resulted from an equilibrium partial melting (F = 15–35%) of spinel lherzolite type mantle sources depleted to weakly enriched in Th, Ta, Nb, and light rare-earth elements (LREE), and from fractional crystallization at low pressure of feldspar, clinopyroxene, and olivine. The lavas and the felsic pyroclastites of the Waconichi and Scorpio formations appear to result from partial melting of a mantle source of lherzolite type enriched in LREE and involving some garnet. At a late stage, the melts were probably contaminated by some continental crust materials and then differentiated by fractional crystallization of plagioclase, amphibole, biotite, and magnetite. The lavas in the Chrissie Formation and the middle member of the Gilman Formation seem to result from partial melting of a mantle source enriched in LREE with a composition between the two described above. They were subsequently modified by fractional crystallization of the plagioclase, clinopyroxene, olivine, and titanomagnetite.In general, the mafic to felsic magmatic cycles observed are characterized by a thick sequence of repeated tholeiitic basalt flows similar to those of modern mid-oceanic ridges and by a lava and felsic pyroclastite sequence of calc-alkaline affinity comparable to those occurring in orogenic belts. The transition from one lava sequence to another is marked by a significant chemical discontinuity, and the mantle sources exhibit an increasing enrichment in LREE during a given magmatic cycle. A model is proposed to satisfactorily explain all the stratigraphic, petrographic, and geochemical data implying a hot spot type mechanism, which could be responsible for the cyclic, rising diapirs inside the stratified Archean mantle and for initiating the repeated mantle source meltings, depleted and enriched in LREE, respectively. [Journal Translation]

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