Abstract

A 500 m-thick lens of carbonatitic ultrabasic lapilli tuffs and lavas interbedded with platformal Povungnituk sediments in the foreland of the Cape Smith Belt is its earliest known magmatism and may relate to its initial rifting. The sequence comprises tuffs capped in part by effusives. Accretionary and cored lapilli in the tuffs and pillows in the lavas suggest emplacement in a shallow marine environment. Its current assemblage of antigorite, chlorite, talc, and (in part primary?) carbonate, magnetite, ilmenite, minor chromite, and phlogopite results from probable concurrent hydro-thermal alteration and subsequent greenschist regional metamorphism. Surviving accessory minerals: apatite, monazite, zircon, rutile, and aeschenite(?) are widespread but scarce. Carbonate (mostly dolomite) is a major and integral component of the rock and interpreted as an original, albeit recrystallized, magmatic constituent. Magnetite is conspicuous in the tuffs: as lapilli and lapilli cores, locally as giant crystals, and as stringers. Except in subhedral groundmass crystals, its negligible TiO2 is evidence of its hydrothermal reconstitution. Compositions of chromite cores and rare relicts of phlogopite crystals are consistent with mantle derivation. Rock compositions are low in SiO2 (<35%) and Al2O3 (<3%), high in MgO (>25 wt.%) and alkaline. The immobile incompatible elements (e.g., Zr, average 260 ppm; Nb, average 130 ppm) and the light rare-earth elements are enriched. The rocks are compositionally similar to type Siberian meimechites and closely resemble the “meimechite”–carbonatite eruptives of Castignon Lake, Labrador Trough. Based on experimental evidence, Lac Leclair magmas are interpreted as originating by minor partial melting of carbonated mantle at ∼100 km depths and reaching the surface via conduits opened by deep rifting that initiated the Cape Smith segment of the Trans-Hudson Orogen.

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