Abstract

Magmatism that accompanied the 1.1 Ga Midcontinent rift system (MRS) is attributed to the upwelling and decompression melting of a mantle plume beneath North America. Five distinctive flood-basalt compositions are recognized in the rift-related basalt succession along the south shore of western Lake Superior, based on stratigraphically correlated major element, trace element, and Nd isotopic analyses. These distinctive compositions can be correlated with equivalent basalt types in comparable stratigraphic positions in other MRS localities around western Lake Superior. Four of these compositions are also recognized at Mamainse Point more than 200 km away in eastern Lake Superior. These regionally correlative basalt compositions provide the basis for determining the sequential contribution of various mantle sources to flood-basalt magmatism during rift development, extending a model originally developed for eastern Lake Superior. In this refined model, the earliest basalts were derived from small degrees of partial melting at great depth of an enriched, ocean-island-type plume mantle source (εNd(1100) value of about 0), followed by magmas representing melts from this plume source and interaction with another mantle source, most likely continental lithospheric mantle (εNd(1100) < 0). The relative contribution of this second mantle source diminished with time as larger degree partial melts of the plume became the dominant source for the voluminous younger basalts (εNd(1100) value of about 0). Towards the end of magmatism, mixtures of melts from the plume and a depleted asthenospheric mantle source became dominant (εNd(1100) = 0 to +3).

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