Abstract

In the first collaborative study of paleomagnetism and precise U-Pb geochronology in the Minto block of the Superior Province, mafic dyke swarms with three widely divergent paleomagnetic signatures and isotopic ages have been identified. The 2505 ± 2 Ma Ptarmigan dykes trend north to northeast and have a virtual geomagnetic pole at 42°S, 220°E, similar to that of 2473-2446 Ma Matachewan dykes of the southern Superior Province. The ca. 2230 Ma Maguire dykes trend west to northwest and yield a paleopole at 9°S, 267°E, similar to those for 2216+8-4 Ma Senneterre dykes and 2217-2210 Ma Nipissing sills of the southern Superior and Southern provinces, respectively. The 2209 ± 1 Ma Klotz dykes trend west-northwest, but do not carry a consistent magnetization direction. Finally, 1998 ± 2 Ma Minto dykes of west-northwest to northwest trend, identical in age to the 1998 Ma ± 2 Ma Purtuniq ophiolite of the Cape Smith Belt, have a paleopole at 38°N, 174°E. The similarity of paleopoles for the ca. 2.23-2.21 Ga Maguire dykes of the Minto block, Senneterre dykes of the southern Superior, and Nipissing sills of the Southern Province demonstrates that these regions were in their present relative latitudes and orientations at that time. Likewise, the similarity of the Ptarmigan virtual geomagnetic pole and the Matachewan paleopole suggests little relative latitudinal movement or rotation of the two regions since ca. 2.5 Ga. The Maguire, Senneterre, and Klotz dykes form a roughly radiating pattern and may represent one quadrant of a giant radiating dyke swarm centred southeast of Ungava Bay, whose focus marks the location of a mantle plume responsible for ca. 2.22 Ga breakup along the eastern margin of the Superior Province. If so, the coeval Nipissing sills that intrude sedimentary rocks of the Huronian Supergroup of the Southern Province may have been fed laterally by Senneterre dykes from the Ungava plume centre.

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