Abstract

Development of tectonic subprovinces as shear-bounded granite–greenstone and sediment-dominated terranes during the late Archaean is reviewed and interpreted from relationships between portions of the Wabigoon, Wawa, and Quetico subprovinces.Greenstone-dominated subprovinces (Wabigoon and Wawa) are complex successions of tholeiites, 2.76–2.70 Ga calc-alkaline volcanic centres, and derived sediments. Supracrustal rocks aggregated on a scale of tens of kilometres, forming homoclines, locally upright folded, intruded by granitoids, exhibiting variable fabric trends and strains, and cut by transcurrent shear zones. Small-scale (10–100 km) accretion juxtaposed these varied supracrustal sequences, which were engulfed granitoid magmas, to form greenstone belts.Sediment-dominated subprovinces (Quetico) are metamorphosed wacke sequences deposited during and after the volcanic climax in the period 2.70–2.69 Ga. Overthrust imbrication at both the Wabigoon–Quetico and the Quetico–Wawa contacts occurred along north-dipping shears, now vertical. Continued right-lateral convergence at subprovince margins induced progressive shortening within the Quetico Subprovince, producing a regional planar fabric. Abukuma–style metamorphism, migmatite formation, and S-type granite intrusions occurred during the period 2.67–2.65 Ga.Greenstone-belt developments, terminated during large-scale (100–1000 km) late neo-Archæan accretion, are preserved within elongate, batholith-dominated terranes separated by metasedimentary migmatite belts. Geochronological, lithotectonic, and metamorphic patterns on a scale of hundreds of kilometres are permissive of an accretionary model of greenstone terrane coalescence in which formation of long-lived, complex volcanic arcs and a complementary fore-arc accretionary prism culminated in large-scale accretion and the formation of stable continental crust.

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