Abstract

The Archean Golden Pond sequence is made up of deformed and metamorphosed conglomerates, greywackes, and mafic volcanic rocks, and is overlain by ferrugineous metasedimentary rocks of the North iron formation. The clastic rocks were derived mainly from a volcanic source that had undergone weak chemical weathering. Their source area was dominated by the presence of 60–80% high-Al2O3 felsic volcanics having strongly fractionated [La/Sm]N (= 3.7 ± 0.3) and very low Ta/Th ratios (= 0.09 ± 0.02), with lesser proportions of basaltic (10–30%) and ultramafic volcanic rocks (1–10%). The ferrugineous metasedimentary rocks can be modelled by mixing 20–40% siliciclastic material, of the composition of the average Golden Pond greywacke, with an Fe- and Si-rich precipitate (molecular Fe/Si = 0.6 ± 0.2). The high-Al2O3 felsic source rocks were most likely produced by subduction processes within an oceanic arc environment, but the mafic and ultramafic volcanic rocks were derived by different processes from an asthenospheric mantle source, possibly in an oceanic rift environment. Therefore, it is suggested that the ultramafic, mafic, and felsic volcanic rocks were brought to the same erosional level by dissection of the arc system and rapid exhumation of the felsic arc lithologies and the deeper ocean floor. Intrabasinal hydrothermal activity associated with contemporaneous mafic volcanism and (or) graben development may have also been responsible for the local production of the Fe-rich precipitates of the North iron formation.

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