Abstract

A basal sequence of flood basalt lavas associated with the Neoproterozoic Midcontinent rift system crops out in Alona Bay along the southeastern shore of Lake Superior in Ontario. The Alona Bay lava succession is about 1200 m thick and lies just north of the well-studied, contemporaneous Mamainse Point Formation. Detailed chemostratigraphy of the Alona Bay lavas suggests they are grossly correlative with the basal portion of the Mamainse Point Formation. For instance, like the basal part of Mamainse Point Formation, the Alona Bay section contains numerous high-MgO lavas and can be subdivided into 4–5 groups with distinct chemical characteristics. Chemical variations within the Alona Bay groups are largely the result of fractional crystallization, likely at moderate pressures. One small group of Alona Bay lavas also carries the compositional imprint of crustal contamination. The remaining inter-group chemical distinctions at Alona Bay are the consequence of temporal changes in partial melting and source character. With time and development of the Midcontinent rift, degrees of melting increased; mean pressures of melting decreased, reducing garnet control; and lithospheric source contributions waned. Similar temporal variations during flood basalt evolution have been documented elsewhere.

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