1860-Ma I-Shaped Mafic Sills in the Murmansk Craton, Eastern Fennoscandia: Petrology and Tectonic Setting of Within-plate Mafic Events during Nuna Assembly

A. V. Stepanova, A. V. Samsonov, Yu O. Larionova, S. V. Egorova, A. A. Arzamastsev, E. B. Salnikova, R. V. Veselovskiy, K. G. Erofeeva, M. V. Stifeeva

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2 Scopus citations


1860-Ma within-plate mafic rocks of the Eastern Murman Sill Province were studied in the northern part of the Murmansk Craton, where they compose sheet bodies (sills) up to 100 m thick in Archean granitoids and gneisses. The sills have a simple inner structure, show no macroscopic signs of in situ differentiation even in large bodies, and consist of homogenous medium-grained poikilophitic dolerites weakly varying in composition. Minor variations in mineral and chemical composition of the rocks allow us to regard the mafic sills as I-shaped sills. Their homogeneity is likely caused by the rapid crystallization of aphyric magmas. The studied sills are close to N-MORB in major-element composition, but significantly differ in trace element signatures. The low Cr and Ni concentrations in the dolerites indicate the high degrees of fractional crystallization, while the low HREE and HFSE contents suggest that primary komatiite melts were formed through the high-degree melting of a depleted mantle source. The absence of phenocrysts in chilled dolerites prevented the use mineralogic and petrographic criteria for estimating the crystallization conditions in intermediate magma chambers. AlphaMELTS 1.9 and PRIMELT3 MEGA modelling results indicate that the primary melts could be formed through a high-degree melting of ascending high-temperature mantle plume, with subsequent contamination and fractional crystallization in mid-crustal intermediate magma chambers. The Nd and Sr isotopic composition of the dolerites and constituent minerals suggests that the crustal contamination included several stages. The first, most significant crustal contribution (up to 10%) was related to the contamination by Archean tonalites in the intermediate mid-crustal chambers. This provided negative εNd values and radiogenic Sr isotopic composition (Sri = 0.702–0.704) in the dolerites. The second stage included the upper-crustal contamination during lateral propagation of melts along gentle weakened zones, which resulted in the wide variations of Sr-Nd isotopic composition in rocks and minerals. The third stage was related to the contamination by 87Sr-enriched fluid that is supported by the sharp increase of Sri (up to 0.708) at constant Nd isotopic composition in gabbro-pegmatites. Such fluid could be formed via biotite dehydration caused by heating of host granites by large volume of emplaced mafic melts. The age, volume, and composition of the studied dolerites and similarity with coeval mafic rocks in the Superior Craton indicate that the I-shaped mafic sills in the Murmansk Craton could be formed on the periphery of the Circum Superior large igneous province. It suggests that the Murmansk Craton of the Fennoscandian Shield and the Superior Craton of the Canadian Shield at 1860 Ma were joined into a single consolidated lithospheric block that host within-plate mafic rocks and likely represented an early core of the Paleoproterozoic Nuna supercontinent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-117
Number of pages25
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • Fennoscandian Shield
  • I-shaped mafic sills
  • large igneous provinces
  • the Рaleoproterozoic


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