Abstract

The Little Elk Granite (2549 Ma) and granite at Bear Mountain (BMG) (~2.5 Ga) of the Black Hills formed as a result of a collisional event along the eastern margin of the Wyoming Province during the late Archean. Geochemical modelling and Nd isotopic data indicate that the Little Elk Granite was generated by the partial melting of a slightly enriched (εNd = −1.07 to −3.69) granodioritic source that had a crustal residence time of at least 190 Ma. The medium-grained to pegmatitic, peraluminous, leucocratic BMG was produced by melting a long-lived (>600 Ma), compositionally variable, enriched (εNd = −7.6 to −12.3) crustal source. This produced a volatile-rich, rare-earth-element-poor magma that experienced crystal–melt–volatile fractionation, which resulted in a lithologically complex granite.The production of volatile-rich granites, such as the BMG and the younger Harney Peak Granite (1715 Ma), is a function of the depositional and post-depositional tectonic environment of the sedimentary source rock. These environments control protolith composition and the occurrence of dehydration and melting reactions that are necessary for the generation of these volatile-rich leucocratic granites. These types of granites are commonly related to former continental–continental accretionary boundaries, and therefore their occurrence may be used as signatures of ancient continental suture zones.

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