Early Carboniferous tholeiitic dikes in the New Carlisle area of Quebec, Canada, are abnormally enriched in high field strength elements (HFSEs), including rare earth elements. The enrichment is systematic and was apparently caused by an enhanced incompatibility of HFSEs during a prolonged episode of crystal fractionation. As a result, HFSE concentrations are up to one order of magnitude higher than those of typical mafic rocks. Very high F and Cl contents suggest that halogen complexing was largely responsible for the trace-element enrichment. The high halogen contents are in part accounted for by a subcontinental lithospheric mantle source that had previously been enriched in these elements by prolonged subduction. Additional Cl enrichment is interpreted to have occurred in a magma chamber that developed within porous and brine-rich country rocks of the upper crust. This conclusion is supported by the observation that HFSE-enriched mafic plutons in the same magmatic province occur in nonmetamorphosed upper-crustal rocks, suggesting high buoyancy and therefore high temperatures. Such evidence for high heat in the late Paleozoic magmatic system of eastern Canada corroborates previous studies suggesting that the transtensional basin in which it evolved was overriding a mantle plume at the time. In the case of the New Carlisle dikes, which are more than twice as enriched in incompatible trace elements as slightly older mafic rocks of the same magmatic system, the regional paleoenvironmental setting suggests that the associated upper-crustal magma chamber may have evolved in rocks with saltier pore water due to long-lasting evaporitic conditions at the surface.

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