Abstract

New U–Pb zircon dating yields a crystallization age of 458 ± 3 Ma for the largely gabbroic Grøndalsfjell Intrusive Complex in the Gjersvik Nappe of the Caledonian Upper Allochthon in Scandinavia. This is identical, within error, to the age of the adjacent Møklevatnet Complex that is dominated by quartz monzodiorite (456 ± 2 Ma), and the two intrusive suites may be regarded as members of a composite intrusion here referred to as the Nesåa Batholith. Mafic members of this calc-alkaline batholith are characterized by slightly positive εNd–εSr values, marked enrichment of the light rare earth elements and high Th/Yb ratios suggestive of a subduction-modified mantle source. The I-type granitoids have similar isotope values and highly fractionated rare earth element patterns, and are interpreted as products from partial melting of garnet-bearing mafic rocks. The Nesåa Batholith intruded a previously deformed, 483 Ma or older, metavolcanic sequence of oceanic arc affinity. The margins of the pluton show evidence for synkinematic emplacement, which is tentatively interpreted in terms of magma ascent controlled by deep-seated shear zones. Further uplift and exhumation of the crystallized plutons was followed by rapid deposition of batholith-derived conglomerates and arkoses in a marginal basin represented by the Limingen Group. The age of the Nesåa Batholith fills the gap in reported ages for Caledonian magmatism, between the Early to Middle Ordovician, oceanic to continental margin type, arc sequences of Laurentian palaeotectonic affinity, and the Late Ordovician–Early Silurian batholith complexes of interpreted Laurentian margin affinity. It is interpreted as an early phase of the more extensive plutonism recorded in the Bindal Batholith of the Uppermost Allochthon to the west. Our model implies that the Early Ordovician oceanic arc sequences of the Gjersvik Nappe were deformed and accreted on to Laurentian margin lithologies prior to Late Ordovician times. This composite crustal assemblage was the source for the voluminous quartz monzodioritic intrusions of the Nesåa Batholith, which formed by partial melting due to ponding of subduction-related mantle derived mafic magmas either within or at the base of the active continental margin.

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