Geochemistry and tectonic setting of mafic rocks in western Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica: implications for the geodynamic evolution of the Proterozoic Maud Belt

<p>On the basis of new bulk major and trace element (including REE) as well as Sm–Nd and Rb–Sr isotope data, used in conjunction with available geochronological data, a post-tectonic mafic igneous province and four groups of pre- to syntectonic amphibolite are distinguished in the polymetamorphic Maud Belt of western Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. Protoliths of the Group 1 amphibolites are interpreted as volcanic arc mafic intrusions with Archaean to Palaeoproterozoic Nd model ages and depletion in Nb and Ta. Isotopic and lithogeochemical characteristics of this earliest group of amphibolite indicate that the Maud Belt was once an active continental volcanic arc. The most likely position of this arc, for which a late Mesoproterozoic age (<em>c</em>. 1140 Ma) is indicated by available U–Pb single-zircon age data, was on the southeastern margin of the Kaapvaal–Grunehogna Craton. The protoliths of Group 2 amphibolites are attributed to the 1110 Ma Borgmassivet–Umkondo thermal event on the basis of comparable Nd model ages and trace element distributions. Group 3 amphibolite protoliths are characterized by mid-ocean ridge basalt-type REE patterns and low Th/Yb ratios, and they are related to Neoproterozoic extension. Group 4 amphibolite protoliths are distinguished by high Dy/Yb ratios and are attributed to a phase of syntectonic Pan-African magmatism as indicated by Rb–Sr isotope data. </p>