Formation of Anorthositic Rocks within the Blair River Inlier of Northern Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia (Canada)

J. Gregory Shellnutt*, Jaroslav Dostal, J. Duncan Keppie, D. Fraser Keppie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Rocks from the Blair River inlier of Northern Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia, Canada) have been correlated with either the Grenville basement of eastern Laurentia or the accreted Avalon terrane. Additional zircon U-Pb dates of spatially associated anorthositic dykes (425:1± 2:2 Ma) and a metagabbro (423:8± 2:5 Ma) from the Fox Back Ridge intrusion of the Blair River inlier reveal Late Silurian emplacement ages. Their contemporaneity suggests that they may be members of a larger intrusive complex. The anorthositic rocks have high Eu/Eu∗ values (>2.5), and bulk compositions are similar to the mineral compositions of labradorite (An50-70) and andesine (An30-50). The metagabbro is compositionally similar to alkali basalt and does not seem to have been affected by crustal contamination (Nb/U > 24; Th/NbPM ≤ 1:1) although it was metamorphosed. The high Tb/YbN (1.8-1.9) ratios suggest that the parental magma of the metagabbro was derived from a garnet-bearing peridotite. Fractional crystallization and mass balance calculations indicate that the anorthositic rocks can be derived by mineral accumulation from a mafic parental magma similar in composition to the metagabbro of this study. The Late Silurian ages suggest that the rocks were emplaced into the Avalon terrane after the closure of the Iapetus Ocean but before Early Devonian (415-410 Ma) sinistral transpression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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