North Atlantic Craton architecture revealed by kimberlite-hosted crustal zircons

Nicholas J. Gardiner*, Christopher L. Kirkland, Julie A. Hollis, Peter A. Cawood, Oliver Nebel, Kristoffer Szilas, Chris Yakymchuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Archean cratons are composites of terranes formed at different times, juxtaposed during craton assembly. Cratons are underpinned by a deep lithospheric root, and models for the development of this cratonic lithosphere include both vertical and horizontal accretion. How different Archean terranes at the surface are reflected vertically within the lithosphere, which might inform on modes of formation, is poorly constrained. Kimberlites, which originate from significant depths within the upper mantle, sample cratonic interiors. The North Atlantic Craton, West Greenland, comprises Eoarchean and Mesoarchean gneiss terranes – the latter including the Akia Terrane – assembled during the late Archean. We report U–Pb and Hf isotopic, and trace element, data measured in zircon xenocrysts from a Neoproterozoic (557 Ma) kimberlite which intruded the Mesoarchean Akia Terrane. The zircon trace element profiles suggest they crystallized from evolved magmas, and their Eo- to Neoarchean U–Pb ages match the surrounding gneiss terranes, and highlight that magmatism was episodic. Zircon Hf isotope values lie within two crustal evolution trends: a Mesoarchean trend and an Eoarchean trend. The Eoarchean trend is anchored on 3.8 Ga orthogneiss, and includes 3.6–3.5 Ga, 2.7 and 2.5–2.4 Ga aged zircons. The Mesoarchean Akia Terrane may have been built upon mafic crust, in which case all zircons whose Hf isotopes lie within the Eoarchean trend were derived from the surrounding Eoarchean gneiss terranes, emplaced under the Akia Terrane after ca. 2.97 or 2.7 Ga, perhaps during late Archean terrane assembly. Kimberlite-hosted peridotite rhenium depletion model ages suggest a late Archean stabilization for the lithospheric mantle. The zircon data support a model of lithospheric growth via tectonic stacking for the North Atlantic Craton.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116091
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Early online date23 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020


  • lamprophyre
  • Archean Archaean
  • Greenland
  • Itsaq Isua
  • Isukasia Akia Terrane
  • SCLM lithosphere mantle


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