Sill and lava geochemistry of the mid-Norway and NE Greenland conjugate margins



[1] This paper presents major, trace-elements, and Sr-Nd isotopes for two prominent sills formed during the opening of the North Atlantic, sampled by the Utgard borehole (6607/5-2) in the Vøring Plateau. The Utgard sills are compared to opening-related lavas recovered from ODP Leg 104 Hole 642E farther west on the Vøring Plateau and on the NE Greenland conjugate margin. The Utgard sills (3.6–5.9 wt % MgO) are enriched in strongly relative to moderately incompatible trace elements and have 87Sr/86Sr and 143Nd/144Nd ratios of 0.70380–70387 and 0.51292–0.51293, respectively, in the Upper Utgard Sill, and 0.70303–0.70306 and 0.51297–0.51299 in the Lower Sill. Alteration is minor. The Utgard melts originated by partial melting of an asthenospheric, depleted mantle source (DMM or Iceland Rift Zone, IRZ, type) with chemical characteristics similar to the source that gave rise to NE Greenland lavas. The Utgard magmas underwent extensive fractional crystallization in the lower crust (Upper Sill: >70%; Lower Sill: >55%) with removal mainly of olivine and pyroxenes, accompanied by ≤1% assimilation of crustal melts. This crystallization formed significant masses of dense cumulates (∼3.25 g/cm3) (underplating). Assuming an areal extent similar to that of the two sills, we estimate a composite layer of ultramafic cumulates mixed with less dense country rocks to be >320 m thick beneath the two Utgard sills and >8.8 km beneath the thickest part of the Vøring Plateau lavas. Opening-related cumulates may thus account for a significant part of the lower crustal high-velocity, high-density bodies (average density 3.1 g/cm3) along the Norwegian margin.