Rb-Sr whole-rock isochron data for nine intrusive centers (including the major oversaturated and undersaturated syenite bodies) in the Precambrian Gardar alkalic igneous province of south Greenland complete a systematic isotopic study of the major complexes of the region (15 distinct igneous centers). The new data show that magmatic activity occurred throughout the region over a period in excess of 150 m.y. and that there is a clear distinction between two major magmatic events — an early Gardar (∼1,300 m.y. old) event and a more widespread late Gardar (∼1,160 m.y. old) event, which also involved extensive east-northeast-trending dike emplacement. Two relatively small intrusions in the western part of the province have middle Gardar (∼1,250 m.y. old) ages. There does not appear to be any relationship between emplacement age and geographic location, mode of emplacement, or the recognized petrologic division into saturated or undersaturated types; indeed, some adjacent complexes with strikingly similar petrologic characteristics have originated during different events, and, conversely, adjacent complexes with very different compositions are chronologically indistinguishable with present techniques.
Initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios for the Gardar rocks are broadly divisible into three groups. Low (0.702 to 0.704) ratios are characteristic of most of the intrusions in the province, including most of the syenites (both undersaturated and oversaturated) and gabbros —which indicates a primitive (mantle) origin for the parental Gardar magmas. Intermediate ratios (0.704 to 0.707) are observed in fewer centers, particularly in the Nunarssuit complex (gabbro, oversaturated syenites, and granites). For these centers, the possibility of closed-system enrichment in 87Sr (by decay of 87Rb during a complex molten history extending throughout 150 m.y. of Gardar time) is rejected as unlikely, as is a direct origin by partial melting of older crust; field, chemical, and isotopic evidence presented here strongly support a bulk-assimilation hypothesis. Only two complexes have high (>0.707)ratios; both show evidence of introduction of radiogenic 87Sr into their magmas at a late stage of development through selective leaching of radiogenic 87Sr from older crust, and both of these complexes are associated with mineralization.