Identification of chemical sedimentary protoliths using iron isotopes in the > 3750 Ma Nuvvuagittuq supracrustal belt, Canada

Nicolas Dauphas, Nicole L. Cates, S. Mojzsis, Vincent Busigny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An Eoarchean supracrustal belt dated at ca. 3750 Ma was recently identified in the Innuksuac Complex, northern Québec (Canada). Rocks from the Nuvvuagittuq locality include mafic and ultramafic amphibolites, quartz-biotite and pelitic schists, orthogneisses, and banded quartz-magnetite-amphibole/pyroxene rocks of probable chemical sedimentary origin. The purported metasediments are enriched in the heavy isotopes of Fe by approximately 0.3‰/amu relative to IRMM-014. They also have high Fe/Ti ratios, up to 100× that of associated amphibolite units. These signatures demonstrate that quartz-magnetite-amphibole/pyroxene rocks from Nuvvuagittuq are chemical sediments (e.g. banded iron-formations, BIFs) formed by precipitation of dissolved ferrous iron in a marine setting. All units were metamorphosed to upper amphibolite facies, which partly homogenized Fe isotopes. Variable Fe isotope compositions of bulk quartz-magnetite rocks are interpreted to reflect binary mixing between primary oxides and carbonates. Mixing relationships with major element chemistry (Ca/Fe, Mg/Fe, and Mn/Fe) are used to estimate the Fe isotope composition of the primary Fe-oxide phase (0.3 to 0.4‰/amu) and the chemistry of the carbonate (siderite and ankerite). Iron isotopes can thus be used to constrain the primary mineralogy of Fe-rich chemical sedimentary precipitates before metamorphism. The possible presence of siderite in the primary mineral assemblage supports deposition under high PCO2. We developed an isotope distillation model that includes two possible abiotic oxidation paths, homogeneous and heterogeneous. The isotopic composition of Fe in the precursor phase of magnetite in BIFs can be explained by partial oxidation through oxygenic or anoxygenic photosynthesis of Fe from a hydrothermal source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-376
Number of pages19
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume254
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 2007

Fingerprint

Iron Isotopes
iron isotopes
Ferrosoferric Oxide
protolith
Canada
Quartz
Isotopes
isotopes
magnetite
isotope
iron
quartz
Amphibole Asbestos
Rocks
rocks
siderites
Iron
amphiboles
Carbonates
banded iron formation

Keywords

  • Archean
  • BIF
  • Iron
  • Isotopes
  • Metamorphism
  • Sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Identification of chemical sedimentary protoliths using iron isotopes in the > 3750 Ma Nuvvuagittuq supracrustal belt, Canada. / Dauphas, Nicolas; Cates, Nicole L.; Mojzsis, S.; Busigny, Vincent.

In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 254, No. 3-4, 28.02.2007, p. 358-376.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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