Abstract

Magmatism associated with the extensional Magdalen basin includes voluminous tholeiitic gabbro and basalt and local granite and rhyolite. Pb- and (or) Nd-isotope determinations have been made on 70 igneous rocks from throughout the basin, and a further 15 samples of Avalonian basement from the southern margin of the basin, to characterize the contribution of lower crustal blocks and mantle sources to the magmatism and to constrain tectonic models for the basin. Five phases of magmatic evolution are distinguished in the Magdalen basin. (1) Middle to Late Devonian partial melting of lithospheric mantle, producing principally tholeiites and minor alkalic basalt. Tholeiites have Pb isotopic compositions similar to that of younger Triassic tholeiites generated from the same mantle, but experienced less crustal contamination. Regional variations in trace element composition of the mantle can be recognized. (2) The mafic magma triggered anhydrous base-of-crust melting, principally along the transpressive Cobequid and Rockland Brook faults, producing A-type granites in which radiogenic Pb increases northeastward. (3) In the latest Devonian, a large base-of-crust fractionating magma chamber evolved. It contained immiscible mafic and minor felsic magma, with uniform Nd isotopes, and high Ti in the mafic magma. (4) Although late Tournaisian dykes are not strongly fractionated, their evolution involved more crustal assimilation than earlier mafic rocks. (5) Local Viséan-Westphalian alkalic magmas, which ascended along crustal-scale faults, have Pb and Nd isotopic compositions resembling mantle plumes or their mixtures with lithospheric mantle sources. Only these youngest rocks show any isotopic evidence for input from an asthenospheric plume source, suggesting that regional extension was responsible for most of the magmatism.

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