Abstract

The early Mesozoic, quartz normative, North Mountain basalts in southwestern Nova Scotia (Digby area) form three units: a coarse massive lower flow (~190 m) bearing minor lenses of mafic pegmatite, a middle unit of thin amygdaloidal basaltic flows (~50 m), and an upper flow unit of massive phenocryst-rich basalt (~160 m). The two thick units show phenocrysts of orthopyroxene (bronzite) and (or) pigeonite, augite, and zoned plagioclase in a granular matrix of augite, pigeonite, and plagioclase. Variation diagrams and chondrite-normalized rare-earth-element patterns relate all chemical diversity between and within flows to removal and (or) accumulation of plagioclase and pyroxene phenocrysts (~1:1). High K, Rb, and Ba, appear related to assimilation of continental crust. Constancy of fractionation-independent element ratios and variations in phenocryst content vertically and along the 200 km strike of the basalts suggest (1) crystal settling and accumulation together with assimilation and mixing in a lower crustal magma chamber, (2) rise to upper crustal levels in a central conduit followed by northeast-ward emplacement along a tension-induced dyke system, and (3) extrusion along a fissure in two major and numerous minor pulses that formed the lower, upper, and middle units. Assimilation did not occur as magma moved through the dyke system, for assimilation-related variations in composition do not occur along strike.

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