Geochemistry of Archean Mafic Amphibolites from the Amsaga Area, West African Craton, Mauritania: What Is the Message?

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Fatima El Atrassi1, Vinciane Debaille1, Nadine D C Mattielli1 and Julien Berger2, (1)Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, (2)Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
While Archean terrains are mainly composed of a TTG (Tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite) suite, more mafic lithologies such as amphibolites are also a typical component of those ancient terrains. Although mafic rocks represent only ~10% of the Archean cratons, they may provide key evidence of the role and nature of basaltic magmatism in the formation of the Archean crust as well as the evolution of the Archean mantle.

This study focuses on the Archean crust from the West African Craton in Mauritania (Amsaga area). The Amsaga Archean Crust mainly consists of TTG and thrust-imbricated slices of mafic volcanic rocks, which have been affected by polymetamorphic events from the amphibolite to granulite facies.

Our main objectives aim to the identification of the mafic lithology origin and a better understanding of their role in the continental crust emplacement.

Our petrological observations show that these amphibolites have fine to medium granoblastic and nematoblastic textures. The amphibolites are dominated by amphibolite-facies mineral assemblages (mainly amphibole and plagioclase), but garnet and clinopyroxene occur in a few samples.

Two groups are distinct in their geochemical characteristics (major and trace elements), although both have tholeiitic basalt composition. The first group show LREE-enriched patterns and negative Nb-Ta anomalies. The second group is characterized by near-flat LREE patterns and flat HREE patterns. This second group clearly shows no Nb-Ta anomalies.

The first group could be related to arc-like basalts, as it is many similarities with some Archean amphibolites probably formed in a supra-subduction zone, for instance the volcanic rocks from the southern edge of the Isua Supracrustal Belt.

On the contrary, the second group has a MORB-like signature which is more unusual during the Archean. Different scenarios will be discussed regards to the Archean geodynamics.