Depth profile techniques for U–Pb geochronology and rare earth element (REE) geochemistry were conducted on unpolished, Archean zircon with metasomatic rims from metasedimentary rocks within the Horseshoe Lake greenstone belt, western Superior Province, Canada. These zircon crystals are shown to have isotopically distinct rims (typically <5 μm thick) compared with the interiors of the crystal. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) U–Pb depth profile analyses of the rims define two different 207Pb/206Pb age populations at ca. 2920 and 2869 Ma, which are >100 million years younger than the cores. The 207Pb/206Pb rim ages can be temporally correlated with regional magmatism and with a later, potentially Au-bearing, hydrothermal event synchronous with greenschist-facies metamorphism and regional deformation. Notably, the zircons do not record evidence of local ca. 2741–2715 Ma magmatism manifested by the emplacement of a quartz–feldspar porphyry dike swarm. Laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA–ICP–MS) REE depth profile analyses on the same unpolished zircon show that the rims are commonly characterized by low Th/U ratios, elevated Hf, and variable REE concentrations in comparison with the interior of the grains. The variations in rim and core chemistry suggest that these elements, along with common Pb, were mobilized by fluids and interacted with zircon in the metasediments, resulting in the production of the metasomatic rims. In summary, this paper shows that depth profiling techniques applied to unpolished zircon can be useful to elucidate the tectonic, and potentially metallogenic, history of a complex Archean terrane.

You do not currently have access to this article.