Juvenile crust formation in the Zimbabwe Craton deduced from the O-Hf isotopic record of 3.8–3.1 Ga detrital zircons

Robert Bolhar, Axel Hofmann, Anthony I.S. Kemp, Martin J. Whitehouse, Sandra Wind, Balz S. Kamber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hafnium and oxygen isotopic compositions measured in-situ on U-Pb dated zircon from Archaean sedimentary successions belonging to the 2.9–2.8 Ga Belingwean/Bulawayan groups and previously undated Sebakwian Group are used to characterize the crustal evolution of the Zimbabwe Craton prior to 3.0 Ga. Microstructural and compositional criteria were used to minimize effects arising from Pb loss due to metamorphic overprinting and interaction with low-temperature fluids. 207Pb/206Pb age spectra (concordance >90%) reveal prominent peaks at 3.8, 3.6, 3.5, and 3.35 Ga, corresponding to documented geological events, both globally and within the Zimbabwe Craton. Zircon δ18O values from +4 to +10‰ point to both derivation from magmas in equilibrium with mantle oxygen and the incorporation of material that had previously interacted with water in near-surface environments. In εHf-time space, 3.8–3.6 Ga grains define an array consistent with reworking of a mafic reservoir (176Lu/177Hf ∼0.015) that separated from chondritic mantle at ∼3.9 Ga. Crustal domains formed after 3.6 Ga depict a more complex evolution, involving contribution from chondritic mantle sources and, to a lesser extent, reworking of pre-existing crust. Protracted remelting was not accompanied by significant mantle depletion prior to 3.35 Ga. This implies that early crust production in the Zimbabwe Craton did not cause complementary enriched and depleted reservoirs that were tapped by later magmas, possibly because the volume of crust extracted and stabilised was too small to influence (asthenospheric) mantle isotopic evolution. Growth of continental crust through pulsed emplacement of juvenile (chondritic mantle-derived) melts, into and onto the existing cratonic nucleus, however, involved formation of complementary depleted subcontinental lithospheric mantle since the early Archaean, indicative of strongly coupled evolutionary histories of both reservoirs, with limited evidence for recycling and lateral accretion of arc-related crustal blocks until 3.35 Ga.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-446
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume215
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017

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