Abstract

Late Proterozoic volcanic rocks of the Fourchu Group from the Avalon Zone in southeastern Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, are composed predominantly of mafic and felsic types with subordinate intermediate units that were all affected by subgreenschist- to greenschist-facies metamorphism. The rocks crop out in four fault blocks (Coastal, Stirling, East Bay Hills, and Coxheath) and have geochemical characteristics of ensialic orogenic volcanic suites. The basaltic rocks range from tholeiitic to calc-alkaline and show a distinct compositional zonation that resembles the across-arc variation observed in recent volcanic-arc systems. The variations include a progressive increase in abundances of light rare-earth elements, Th, Zr, Hf, Nb, and Ta and in the ratios of Zr/SiO2, Th/SiO2, Zr/Y, La/Yb, and Th/Hf from the Coastal block in the southeast to the Coxheath block in the northwest. The zonation may be explained in terms of a northwesterly-dipping subduction zone, with the trench lying to the southeast of Nova Scotia.

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