Abstract

Results of rapid-method chemical analyses of samples taken at about 500-ft stratigraphic intervals through two sections of Yellowknife Group volcanic rocks are presented in graphical and composite form. The Yellowknife section is about 40 000 ft thick with the base undefined; the Cameron River section, about 45 mi northeast, is about 7 000 ft thick and may be complete.Two aspects of the volcanic chemistry considered are (1) variation in composition with stratigraphic height; (2) bulk composition of the volcanic rocks.Chemical data of the Yellowknife section define two volcanic cycles in each of which mafic lavas show a small but significant increase in sialic components with stratigraphic height culminating abruptly in acidic layers. The Cameron River section shows a similar but less well-defined trend. Iron–magnesium ratios stage a succession of systematic increases, each persisting for a few thousand stratigraphic feet, but no overall systematic variation. The two types of chemical variation correspond to calc-alkali and tholeiitic differentiation trends respectively. The tholeiitic trend is attributed to fractionation in high-level magma chambers, demonstrated for Yellowknife magma by the Kam Point sill, and the calc-alkali trend to contamination of tholeiitic magma by sialic crust.Frequency distribution diagrams show Yellowknife volcanic rocks to be similar to Chayes' circumoceanic basalts in TiO2, CaO, and MgO and to his oceanic basalts in Al2O3. The characteristic rock type is basalt.

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