Northwestern Laurentia, after cratonization at about 1.85 Ga, underwent a series of tectonic and magmatic events during the Proterozoic that were followed by separation of Laurentia from another landmass, probably Australia. The oldest magmatic event produced the Bonnet Plume River Intrusions (BPRI), which intruded the Wernecke Supergroup as short dikes and small stocks. The BPRI are hydrothermally altered tholeiitic diorites, gabbros, and subordinate anorthositic and syenitic rocks, with trace element signatures consistent with a rift origin. Depleted mantle model ages range from 2.29 to 2.57 Ga and ϵNd values range from +0.7 to –1.7. An increasing crustal component is apparent in rocks with more evolved compositions. Four U–Pb zircon ages (1705.9 ± 0.7, 1709.4 ± 1.4, 1711.1 ± 5.1, and 1713.6 ± 12.7 Ma) indicate a Paleoproterozoic age for the BPRI. These dates constrain the age of the Wernecke Supergroup to ≥ ca. 1710 Ma, making it the oldest supracrustal succession in western Laurentia, e.g., >240 Ma older than the Belt Supergroup of southeastern British Columbia and the northwestern United States. The Wernecke Supergroup was deposited in the first rift basin to open along the western margin of Laurentia, but was later inverted by the pre-1.6 Ga Racklan Orogeny, an event possibly influenced by transmission of compression from the Yavapai and Mazatzal orogenies in southern Laurentia. The Neoproterozoic southwestern United States – east Antarctica (SWEAT) reconstruction, which places Australia next to northwestern Laurentia, is supported by linkages between Paleoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic geological features in northwestern Canada and Australia.

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