Abstract

A Precambrian igneous body of ultramafic and mafic rocks, named the Otter Creek layered igneous complex, occurs within the basement of northwestern Iowa, United States. It is marked by a circular magnetic anomaly, one of several that lie north and west of an inferred suture between the Archean Superior Province and Early Proterozoic juvenile crust. Sm–Nd whole-rock analyses for several rock types from the Otter Creek complex yield an isochron age of 2890 ± 90 Ma, with an εNd(t) of −0.9 ± 2.4. A block of older banded iron formation, itself intruded by lamprophyre dikes, is contained within the layered sequence. The iron formation – lamprophyre block has undergone high-temperature metamorphism followed by a retrograde event. A quartz monzodiorite gneiss, with a U–Pb age of 2523 ± 5 Ma, occurs near the layered complex, but the contact relations are not known. The layered series is overlain by Proterozoic keratophyre with a U–Pb age of 1782 ± 10 Ma. These felsic pyroclastic rocks are extremely depleted in K, Rb, Ba, and Cs. Our data are consistent with Archean greenstone-belt formation, including chemical sedimentation followed by mafic–ultramafic magmatism at approximately 2.9 Ga, followed by two later episodes of magmatism, one at approximately 2.5 Ga and the other at approximately 1.78 Ga. The Otter Creek complex is the first Archean greenstone reported south of the Great Lakes Tectonic Zone (GLTZ); its 2.9 Ga age is older than those reported for the granite–greenstone rocks north of the GLTZ. The southern portion of the Superior Province thus appears to have formed later, and in a different tectonic environment, than the high-grade gneisses of the Minnesota River Valley, but before the bulk of the granite–greenstone rocks exposed in northern Minnesota, Ontario, and eastern Manitoba.

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