Abstract

Eight hydrocarbon exploration wells in the southern Labrador Sea penetrated Precambrian basement rocks, adjacent to the course of a Lithoprobe marine seismic reflection survey. The rock types are mostly Early Proterozoic (1870–1800 Ma) calc-alkaline plutonic rocks or their metamorphic derivatives, but one example is a Middle Proterozoic (1270 Ma) anorogenic intrusion. These samples of buried basement document a transition from juvenile Proterozoic crust in the southeast (shown by εNd from +0.8 to +2.2) to ancient Archean crust in the northwest (shown by εNd from −2.7 to −7.0). However, initial Sr isotope ratios do not show such a clear pattern. The transition in εNd is similar to results of onland studies in Labrador and formerly adjacent south Greenland, and delimits the hidden edge of the North Atlantic Archean craton within the Early Proterozoic Makkovikian–Ketilidian Orogen. These results from close to the seismic profile confirm that regional reflectivity contrasts on either side of the isotopic boundary record fundamental differences between local Archean and Proterozoic crust. Southeast-dipping reflectors that broadly correspond with the boundary zone probably represent a collisional suture zone, along which juvenile terranes were probably placed structurally above the Archean craton.

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