Sr and Nd isotope geochronology, geologic history, and origin of the Adirondack Anorthosite

  • Ashwal L
  • Wooden J
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We have analyzed samples from the Adirondack Marcy massif for Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd isotopes in an attempt to determine directly the primary crystallization age of a Proterozoic massif-type anorthosite rock suite. The oldest age obtained (1288 ± 36Ma) is from a 4 point Sm-Nd isochron defined by igneous-textured whole-rock and mineral separate data from a local layered sequence gradational from oxiderich pyroxenite to leuconorite. This age is older than Silver's (1969) 1113 Ma zircon age of associated charnockites, but is within the window of permissible anorthosite ages based on previous geochronology and field relationships. As such, 1288 Ma may represent the time of crystallization of the massif. For the most part, however, both Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr isotopic systems did not survive granulite facies metamorphism. Internal isochrons based on whole rocks and minerals yield ages between 995 and 919 Ma. These isotopic data suggest that the granulite fades metamorphism experienced by the massif was a prograde event that occurred a minimum of 100 Ma and as much as 350 Ma after crystallization of the massif. The relatively large range in Rb abundance, and in calculated initial87Sr86Sr (0.7039-0.7050) and143Nd144Nd ratios among anorthosite suite rocks, particularly those at or near the contacts of the Marcy massif is explicable by variable contamination with "crustal" materials and/or fluids, derived from surrounding acidic metaplutonic rocks, paragneisses, and marbles. Despite uncertainies caused by crustal contamination and metamorphic resetting of primary ages, Marcy samples have epsilon Nd values between +0.44 and +5.08, implying a source for the massif with long-term depletion in light rare earth elements. A probable source material would be depleted mantle. © 1983.

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  • Lewis D. Ashwal

  • Joseph L. Wooden

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