Abstract

The Churchill Province north of the Proterozoic Cape Smith volcanic fold belt of Quebec may be divided into two parts. The first is a broad antiform of migmatitic gneisses (Deception gneisses) extending north from the fold belt ~50 km to Sugluk Inlet. The second is a 20 km wide zone of high-grade metasedimentary rocks northwest of Sugluk Inlet. The Deception gneisses yield Rb–Sr isochron ages of 2600–2900 Ma and initial ratios of 0.701–0.703, showing that they are Archean basement to the Cape Smith Belt. The evidence that the basement rocks have been isoclinally refolded in the Proterozoic is clear at the contact with the fold belt. However, the gneisses also contain ubiquitous synclinal keels of metasiltstone with minor metapelite and marble that give isochron ages less than 2150 Ma. These ages, combined with low initial ratios of 0.7036, show that they are not part of the basement, as the average 87Sr/86Sr ratio for the basement rocks was about 0.718 at that time.The rocks west of Sugluk Inlet consist mainly of quartzo-feldspathic sediments, quartzites, para-amphibolites, marbles, and some pelite and iron formation. In contrast to the Proterozoic sediments in the Deception gneisses, these rocks yield dates of 3000–3200 Ma, with high initial ratios of 0.707–0.714. These initial ratios point to an age (or a provenance) much greater than that of the Archean Deception gneisses. The rocks of the Sugluk terrain are intruded by highly deformed sills of granitic rocks with ages of about 1830 Ma, demonstrating again the extent and severity of the Proterozoic overprint. The eastern margin of this possibly early Archean Sugluk block is a discontinuity in age, lithology, and geophysical character that could be a suture between two Archean cratons. It is not known if such a suturing event is of Archean age, or if it is related to the deformation of the Cape Smith Fold Belt.Models of evolution incorporating both the Cape Smith Belt and the Archean rocks to the north need to account for the internal structure of the fold belt, the continental affinity of many of the volcanic rocks, the continuity of basement around the eastern end of the belt, and the increase in metamorphism through the northern part of the belt into a broad area to the north. The Cape Smith volcanic rocks may have been extruded along a continental rift, parallel to a continental margin at Sugluk. Continental collison at Sugluk would have thrust the older and higher grade Sugluk rocks over the Deception gneisses, produced the broad Deception antiform, and displaced the Cape Smith rocks to the south in a series of north-dipping thrust slices.

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