Abstract

The Ashuanipi complex and Minto block of the Superior Province are large regions that have been classified as "high-grade gneiss" terranes on the basis of the presence of orthopyroxene-bearing units. Like the granite–greenstone and metasedimentary subprovinces of the southern Superior Province, the two terranes consist predominantly of intrusive rocks, but are distinguished by their primary magmatic orthopyroxene. Both "high-grade" and "gneiss" are misnomers because granulite-facies gneisses are only sparingly present and the regions consist dominantly of massive, unmetamorphosed plutonic rock.The Ashuanipi complex consists of a deformed, metamorphosed package of metasedimentary rocks and primitive, early tonalite cut by widespread orthopyroxene ± garnet granodiorite (diatexite), as well as plutons of tonalite, granite, and syenite. Based on its lithological and chronological similarity and on-strike position, the complex appears to be the continuation of metasedimentary subprovinces such as the Quetico. Its evolution involved deposition of immature greywacke in an accretionary prism, early arc (tonalitic) magmatism and deformation, followed by widespread intracrustal magmatism in the period 2700–2670 Ma. Both metamorphic and igneous rocks record equilibration under granulite-facies conditions (700–835 °C; 0.35–0.65 GPa; graphic ~0.3) and indicate exposure levels of ~20 km.The Minto block at the latitude of Leaf River consists of several north-northwest-trending domains of similar scale and diversity to the east-trending subprovinces of the southern Superior Province. The central Goudalie domain is dominantly amphibolite-facies tonalitic rocks including some with ages >3 Ga, with small belts of volcanic and sedimentary origin. Lake Minto domain contains poorly preserved supracrustal remnants in a plutonic complex comprising hornblende granodiorite, clinopyroxene ± orthopyroxene granodiorite, orthopyroxene–biotite diatexite, and granite. The hornblende granodiorite suite constitutes most of the Utsalik and Tikkerutuk domains and is thought to represent continental arc magmatism. On the basis of their distinct aeromagnetic and lithological character, two additional domains are evident north of the Leaf River area, the Inukjuak domain in the west and the Douglas Harbour domain in the east.The northerly grain of the Minto block appears to have been established in situ with respect to the easterly belts of the southern Superior Province (i.e., no large-scale block rotation) during the same interval of time (3.0–2.7 Ga). Modification of the tectonic framework for the Superior Province is required to explain Minto arc magmatism. In the interval ~2730–2690 Ma ago, a continental magmatic arc built the Berens River and Bienville subprovinces and Minto block on the southern and eastern edges, respectively, of a northern protocratonic foundation. In the same period, primitive volcanic arcs and accretionary prisms developed outboard on oceanic crust and were accreted to form a southern tectonic regime.

You do not currently have access to this article.