Geochemistry of the Archean Kam group, yellowknife Greenstone Belt, Slave Province, Canada
The geochemistry and isotope systematics of Archean greenstone belts provide important constraints on the origin of the volcanic rocks and tectonic models for the evolution of Archean cratons. The Kam Group is a ~10-km-thick pile of submarine, tholeiitic mafic, and subordinate felsic volcanic rocks erupted between 2712 and 2701 Ma that forms the bulk of the Yellowknife greenstone belt in the dominantly granite-metasedimentary Slave Province. Mafic rocks range from Normal-mid-ocean range basalt-like basalts to slightly light-rare-earth-element-enriched (LREE-enriched) but Nb-depleted basaltic andesites and andesites, whereas dacitic to rhyodacitic felsic rocks are strongly LREE-enriched and highly depleted in Nb. The ε(Nd)(T) range from +5 to -3 in the mafic to intermediate rocks and from 0 to -5.5 in the felsic rocks. The ε(Nd)(T) decreases with increasing La/Sm, SiO2 and decreasing Nb/La, suggesting that as the mafic magmas evolved they were contaminated by older basement rocks. Gneissic granitoids >2.9 Ga in age, found at the base of the Kam Group, have ε(Nd)(T) between -6 and -9 and are excellent candidates for the contaminant. The geochemical and isotopic data, combined with the submarine eruptive setting and field evidence for existing continental basement, support a continental margin rift model for the Kam Group. Similar geochemical-isotopic studies are required on other Slave greenstone belts in order to test evolutionary models for the Slave Province.