Precambrian Research ( IF 4.427 ) Pub Date : 2020-11-21 , DOI: 10.1016/j.precamres.2020.106012 Hai-Long He; Yu-Quan Wang; P.M. George; K. Sajeev; Jing-Hui Guo; Chun-Kit Lai; Ming-Guo Zhai
Mantle-derived magmas at the base of the lower crust exerted a key control on late Archean cratonization in many continents. Since well-preserved, complete lower crustal section is rarely exposed, direct studies on the genetic link between mantle-derived magmas and cratonic lower crustal stabilization are inadequate. Cratonic lower crustal section is well-preserved in the southern margin of the Dharwar Craton (southern India), with a number of late Archean anorthositic-gabbroic complexes. Among these complexes, the Sittampundi anorthosite complex (SAC) consists of white- and dark-anorthosite (>60 vol.%), gabbros, and ultramafic rocks. In this study, SIMS zircon U-Pb dating of the anorthosite revealed a minimum emplacement age of 2522 ± 12 Ma, similar to the chromite Os model ages (2528–2563 Ma) of the anorthosite-hosted chromitite. In-situ plagioclase (87Sr/86Sr)i ratios (0.70079–0.70100) of the dark anorthosite and the chromite γOs (T) values (-0.2 to -0.4) of the chromitite suggest that the SAC was derived from a depleted mantle source. From the dark to white anorthosite, the (87Sr/86Sr)i ratios increase while the An contents decrease, suggesting crustal assimilation occurred during fractionation. Similarly, the mantle-like zircon δ18O values and relatively-wide εHf(T) (-2.1 to +8.4) range of the SAC anorthosite suggest that the parental magma had assimilated the ancient mafic lower crust. Emplacement ages of the SAC and published ages of the mafic/felsic granulites and charnockites altogether indicate that the anorthosites were formed during the Dharwar cratonization, and that the mantle-derived magma underplating may have led to extensive lower crustal melting. We argued that during underplating, high-density olivine-pyroxene cumulates (from fractionation of the mantle-derived magma) and partial-melting residues (in the overlying lower crust) mostly sank back to the underlying mantle. In contrast, the lower-density plagioclase and minor amphibole remained in the lower crust to form anorthositic-gabbroic sills. The magmas underplating and subsequent lower-crustal melting have likely made the cratonic lower crust more refractory and buoyant, which facilitated cratonization.