Convergent Plate Boundary Processes in the Archean: Evidence from Greenland
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 8:30 AM
The structural, magmatic and metamorphic characteristics of Archean greenstone belts and associated TTG (tonalite, trondhjemite and granodiorite) gneisses in southern West Greenland are comparable to those of Phanerozoic convergent plate margins, suggesting that Archean continents grew mainly at subduction zones. These greenstone belts are composed mainly of tectonically juxtaposed fragments of oceanic crust including mafic to ultramafic rocks, with minor sedimentary rocks. Volcanic rocks in the greenstone belts are characterized mainly by island arc tholeiitic basalts, picrites, and boninites. The style of deformation and geometry of folds in 10 cm to 5 m wide shear zones are comparable to those occur on 1 to 50 km scale in the greenstone belts and TTG gneisses, suggesting that compressional tectonic processes operating at convergent plate boundaries were the driving force of Archean crustal accretion and growth. Field observations and trace element data suggest that Archean continental crust grew through accretion of mainly island arcs and melting of metamorphosed mafic rocks (amphibolites) in thickened arcs during multiple tectonothermal events. Fold patterns on cm to km scale are consistent with at least three phases of deformation and multiple melting events generating TTG melts that intruded mainly along shear zones in accretionary prism and magmatic arcs. It is suggested that Archean TTGs were produced by three main processes: (1) melting of thickened oceanic island arcs; (2) melting of subducted oceanic crust; and (3) differentiation of basaltic melts originating from metasomatized sub-arc mantle wedge peridotites.