Abstract

The Late Proterozoic (ca. 618–610 Ma) Georgeville Group of northern mainland Nova Scotia lies within the Avalon Composite Terrane and consists of subgreenschist- to greenschist-facies mafic and felsic volcanic rocks overlain by volcaniclastic turbidites that were deposited in an ensialic basin within a rifted volcanic arc. Geochronological data indicate that the volcanic and sedimentary rocks are coeval. The geochemical and isotopic signatures of the sedimentary rocks are attributed to erosion of the coeval Avalonian volcanic rocks that flank the basin and are consistent with synorogenic deposition. There is no evidence of significant chemical contribution from Avalonian basement.Knowledge of the tectonic setting facilitates the testing of published geochemical discriminant diagrams for clastic sedimentary rocks. Discrimination diagrams using ratios such as K2O/Na2O and Al2O3/(CaO + Na2O) give inconclusive results, probably due to elemental mobility during secondary processes. Plots involving MgO, TiO2, and Fe2O3 detect the chemical contribution of mafic detritus, give much tighter clusters of data, and plot between Aleutian- and Cascade-type arc-derived sediments, suggesting a moderate thickness of continental crust beneath the arc.The arc-related signature of the Georgeville sedimentary rocks is clearly recognizable on ternary plots involving inter-element ratios of high field strength elements (e.g., Ti–Y–Zr, Nb–Y–Zr, and Hf–Ta–Th) in which the samples plot as mixing trends between mafic and felsic end members. Diagrams of this type may have widespread application to tectonic discrimination of sedimentary rocks because in most suites these ratios are relatively insensitive to sedimentary and metamorphic processes.

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