The 2.45 Ga Matachewan–Hearst dike swarm was emplaced over 250 000 km2 in diverse granitoid–greenstone and metasedimentary terranes of the Superior Province of Canada. The Fe-rich tholeiitic dikes host large, uniform plagioclase megacrysts and display significant trace-element variations, e.g., (La/Sm)N = 0.62–2.23, not correlated to terrane lithologies.Fractional crystallization alone cannot produce these variations or simultaneously account for both major- and trace-element abundances. Combined periodic replenishment–fractional crystallization (RFC) in shallow magma chambers is consistent with major- and trace-element concentrations and with field evidence for periodic magma injection within the dikes. RFC cannot, however, produce the observed variation in incompatible-trace-element ratios, e.g., (La/Sm)N. Models invoking mixed mantle sources are unsuccessful at reproducing trace-element trends. Combined assimilation–fractional crystallization (AFC) models, assuming depleted parental magmas and using crustal rock data from xenoliths and from the Kapuskasing Structural Zone, can accommodate the trace-element variations, including the light-rare-earth-element enrichment and the observed relative depletions of the high-field-strength elements. The AFC process apparently took place in the lower crustal regions from where evolved magmas were periodically transported to shallow chambers dominated by RFC.

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