Abstract

Geological investigation of the rocks in the Elu Link has provided new information on the geodynamic origin of the Neoarchean (ca. 2716–2663 Ma) Hope Bay and Elu granite–greenstone belts. Stratigraphic and geochemical features of these rocks and those of the nearby Flake Lake area in the Hope Bay belt suggest that the two greenstone belts are contiguous, having similar mafic-dominated bimodal rocks comprising abundant basalts to andesites and less common dacites and rhyolites hosting gabbroic and trondhjemite–tonalite–granodiorite (TTG) intrusions. The corresponding parental magmas, whose evolution likely occurred via fractional crystallization and juvenile crustal contamination, formed from both deep and shallow mantle sources. The basalts, andesites, gabbros, and felsic volcanic rocks are variably tholeiitic to calc-alkaline. Chondrite- and primitive mantle-normalized profiles demonstrate (1) flat to slightly fractionated heavy rare-earth element (HREE) patterns with a weak negative Eu anomaly and (2) light rare-earth element (LREE) enriched and strongly fractionated HREE patterns with variable negative to positive Eu anomalies. In contrast, TTG rocks are calc-alkaline, with strong LREE enrichment, HREE depletion, and variable positive Eu anomalies. Altogether, the rocks exhibit Nb and Ti troughs, and variable Nb/Ta, La/Ta, and Zr/Hf ratios indicative of crustal contamination. Chalcophile elements and related ore deposits in the area are inferred to be formed from hydrothermal fluids mobilized during emplacement and after crystallization of their host rocks. An extensional, high-heat-flow back-arc tectonic environment is proposed to explain the stratigraphic and geochemical characteristics and the presence of large gold resources in these greenstone belts.

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