Abstract

Abundant mafic rocks comprising basalts and gabbros occur in the Bathurst Camp, a complexly deformed Ordovician terrane in northeastern New Brunswick. The mafic rocks form a consanguineous suite of aphyric lavas, subvolcanic sills, and (or) dikes. Gabbros and basalts have somewhat similar major-element compositions but differ in terms of their trace-element contents. Medium-grained gabbros display tholeiitic compositions, whereas basalts and fine-grained gabbros have alkalic affinities. In general, trace-element abundances indicate an enriched source region for the Bathurst mafic rocks. Trace-element characteristics of the tholeiitic group point to a transitional setting going from back-arc to ocean basin, whereas the alkalic group has geochemical characteristics in common with within-plate basalts. Mixing between magmas of these contrasting settings could explain some of the trace-element characteristics of both groups. The back-arc-basin setting appears to be ensialic and is characterized by the absence of an underlying subducted slab during the formation of the basin. The tectonic reason for rifting in such a case could be the strike separation along a series of en echelon faults similar to those of the Gulf of California. Calc-alkaline characteristics of the upper mantle underlying the basin seem to have been inherited from southeasterly subduction of the proto-Atlantic Ocean in Early to Middle Ordovician times.

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