Abstract

Carboniferous volcanic rocks from the New Brunswick Platform in the Maritimes Basin are divided into three age groups. Late Tournaisian to early Visean volcanic rocks are tholeiitic basalts and andesites that, in southern New Brunswick, are inter-bedded with abundant calc-alkalic rhyolite. Late Visean to Namurian volcanic rocks consist of an interbedded sequence of alkalic basalts and trachyandesites. Late Westphalian volcanic rocks change in composition up section from trachyte to peralkalic rhyolite. All three age groups display petrochemical features indicative of an intraplate tectonic setting. The volcanic geochemistry is consistent with the development of the Maritimes Basin either as a failed rift formed along the margin of a late Paleozoic ocean or as a rhomb graben formed within a transcurrent zone; the former model is preferred. The change in basaltic composition from tholeiitic to alkalic apparently coincided with a decrease in rate of extension between the Tournaisian and Namurian. Local peralkalic volcanism occurred during regional sagging of the basin as extension ceased and basement rocks cooled in the Late Carboniferous.

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