Fifty-five new Nd isotope analyses are presented for plutonic orthogneisses from the Grimsthorpe domain in the marble-rich segment of the Grenvillian Central Metasedimentary Belt (CMB) to test the back-arc aulacogen model for its origin. Nd isotope analyses from the Weslemkoon batholith, Elzevir batholith, Lingham Lake complex, and Canniff tonalite are used to probe the crustal formation age of their source rocks. Despite its concentric foliation, the Weslemkoon batholith displays a complex geochemical pattern consisting of several northeast-trending domains with older TDM ages, surrounded by juvenile crustal material. The new Nd isotope results, coupled with geochemistry for the Weslemkoon and Elzevir batholiths, depict the fragmentation of a block of old crust that formed a screen between en echelon segments of a mid-Mesoproterozoic back-arc rift zone. The isotope boundaries identified within the Weslemkoon batholith delineate magma pulses sampling two distinct sources, interpreted as Laurentian basement and juvenile basaltic underplate. Underplating could be attributed to slab rollback under the pre-Grenvillian continental margin arc. The intensification of rift-related magmatism in the CMB is demonstrated by its bimodal petrological character. A modern analogue for the tectonic context of the CMB is the Gulf of California, where subduction-related magmatism has transitioned to rift-related magmatism. However, the Gulf of California exhibits more transcurrent motion than is evidenced by the geometry of the CMB rift. A geometrical analogue for the break-up of the Elzevir block between two rift segments is provided by the Danakil block of the Red Sea, which is currently undergoing similar tectonic fragmentation.

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