Abstract

At ∼2700 Ma volcanism spawned by northward-directed subduction under Wabigoon subprovince, Canadian Shield, fed sediment into an adjacent fore-arc basin – trench system. Volcanically active island arcs to the south (Wawa subprovince) were transported northward during this interval and at ∼2690 Ma collided with the accretionary complex (Quetico subprovince). Metamorphosed sedimentary units intercalated with the ocean floor and island-arc volcanic rocks of northern Wawa subprovince provided the opportunity to amass data useful in extending the paleogeographic interpretation of the area. This study examines the McKellar Harbour Formation, a several kilometre thick assemblage of graded metasandstone beds outcropping to the north of Lake Superior. Its sedimentology, geochemistry, and detrital U–Pb zircon geochronology were investigated in conjunction with the same attributes of possible correlative units in the region. Similarities between the McKellar Harbour Formation and sedimentary rocks composing the fore-arc basin and Quetico trench to the north indicate that by 2696 Ma the trench had been overwhelmed by sediment, to the point where turbidity currents were overflowing onto the abyssal ocean plain, building a prograding submarine ramp–fan that was to become the McKellar Harbour Formation. The turbiditic ramp–fan assemblage comprising most of this extensive depositional system crosses much of southern Superior Province, highlighting the interrelated genesis of rocks formed during amalgamation of the individual subprovinces.

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