Abstract

Picrites and tholeiites from the Mamainse Point Formation, a 5.3 km thick section of Keweenawan (1100 Ma) volcanic and sedimentary fill on the eastern flank of the central portion of the Midcontinent rift system, contain a nearly continuous record of rift magmatic activity. Picrites occur primarily in the lowermost two units of the formation. In this study, they are compared to rarely exposed, slightly older Keweenawan basalts from the North Shore Volcanic Group and the Powder Mill Group to constrain mantle source compositions during early phases of rift magmatic activity. The most primitive picrites analyzed have low Re content (0.069–0.18 ppb), high Os content (0.8–2.1 ppb), and low 187Re/188Os (0.28–1.18). A Re–Os isochron with an age of 1128 ± 54 Ma and an initial 187Os/188Os of 0.1267 ± 0.0013 (γOs = +5.7) was obtained from a 24-point isochron on all but two analyzed samples. The Re–Os data, regressed separately for the older basalts, and the groups 1 and 2 samples from the Mamainse Point Formation, have barely resolvable initial 187Os/188Os that decrease up-stratigraphy from initial γOs(1100) of +12.2 to +6.2 and +4.2, respectively, and couple with changes in initial Nd isotopic composition. These data can be explained by mixing of melts of an enriched mantle plume and unradiogenic continental lithospheric mantle. A radiogenic initial Os isotopic composition (γOs of +8 or higher) for the Keweenawan plume marks the first known appearance of demonstrably radiogenic plume-derived magmas on Earth. Plume-derived magmas with radiogenic Os signatures are more common later. The radiogenic Os signatures of Keweenawan plume magmas may mark the appearance of melts derived from mantle containing recycled slab components from late Archean subduction.

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