Abstract

New England and Maritime Canada host two major suites of Mesozoic diabase dykes. The oldest is the Coastal New England dykes that were emplaced between 225 and 230 Ma. These rocks are dominantly alkaline with trace element and isotopic compositions indicative of a high-238U/204Pb mantle (HIMU) source. The oldest of the ∼200 Ma Mesozoic rift magmas is represented by the Talcott basalt of the Hartford basin and its feeder dykes. External to the basin is the compositionally equivalent Higganum dyke. The extension of the Higganum, the Onway dyke in New Hampshire, is identical in major and trace element and isotopic compositions indicating that the dyke system represented a feeder to flows of flood basalt proportions. The Talcott system rocks have some trace element similarities with arc basalts and have been interpreted as representing melts of a subduction zone modified mantle beneath the Laurentian– Gondwanan suture. Incompatible trace element ratios and Ba, Th, and U values are, however, unlike arc basalts and are more indicative of crustal contamination of the primary magma. The coastal New England magmas have oceanic island basalt signatures that are generally thought to represent plume-tail magmatism, which is antithetic to a plume-head origin for the younger eastern North America magmas. However, coastal New England rocks have the same trace element signatures as the alkaline rocks of the Loihi seamount, which represent the pre-shield stage to the voluminous tholeiitic magmatism in Hawaii.

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