Abstract

Confusion exists over the usefulness of chemical data from Precambrian weathering profiles in constraining models of atmospheric evolution. One difficulty is in correctly identifying ancient weathering effects and isolating them from numerous other processes that are likely to have affected such ancient rocks. In this study of a middle Precambrian granitic weathering profile, we have used several analytical techniques to separate weathering-related chemical and mineralogical changes from those resulting from other processes. The profile is exposed beneath the Huronian at Lauzon Bay in the Blind River area of Ontario and has a complex history of alteration events, addition of allochthonous material, and low-grade metamorphism. Much of this history can be deciphered, and changes in mineralogy and bulk and mineral chemistry can be assigned to separate alteration events. Specifically, the granite has undergone preweathering albitization, resulting in Na enrichment, followed by chemical weathering that corroded K-feldspar and nearly destroyed plagioclase feldspar and mica in the regolith. Clay minerals replaced feldspars, resulting in enrichment in Al, Ti, and Zr and depletion in Na, Ca, Sr, and K. Fe has also been leached. After weathering, a fine-grained 0.5 m layer of strongly weathered allochthonous material was deposited on the regolith, followed by deposition of the Matinenda Formation. Sometime after Matinenda deposition, K- and Rb-metasomatim affected the regolith and overlying sediments, converting some clays to illite and depositing secondary K-feldspar. Greenschist-facies metamorphism probably postdated this metasomatism and converted clay minerals to white mica and chlorite.

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