Abstract

The tectono-stratigraphic relationships, depositional environments, rock associations, and major- and trace-element compositions of the late Archean (2744–2696 Ma) bimodal basalt–rhyolite volcanic rocks of the Michipicoten (Wawa) greenstone belt, Ontario, are compatible with an origin along a convergent plate margin that varied laterally from an immature island arc built on oceanic crust to a more mature arc underlain by continental crust. This environment is similar to that of the Cenozoic Taupo–Kermadec–Tonga volcanic zone. Michipicoten basaltic rocks, most of which are proximal deposits compositionally similar ([La/Yb]n = 0.63–1.18) to modern oceanic island-arc tholeiites, are interpreted as having formed along the largely submerged island arc. Voluminous Michipicoten rhyolitic pyroclastic rocks ([La/Yb]n = 4.3–18.7, Ybn = 5.7–15.9) probably erupted subaerially from the continental arc, with distal facies deposited subaqueously on the adjacent oceanic island arc and proximal facies deposited in subaerial and shallow subaqueous environments on, or along the flanks of, the continental arc. The compositional similarity between the lower (2744 Ma) and upper (2696 Ma) volcanic sequences of the belt suggests that this island- and continental-arc configuration existed for at least 45 Ma. The Michipicoten belt may be a remnant of a larger, laterally heterogeneous volcanic terrane that also included the Abitibi greenstone belt.

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