Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic events in the Minnesota River Valley subprovince, with implications for southern Superior craton evolution and correlation

M. D. Schmitz, D. L. Southwick, M. E. Bickford, P. A. Mueller, S. D. Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The lithologic diversity and protracted geologic history of the Minnesota River Valley (MRV) gneiss terrane at the southern margin of the Archean Superior Province provide key perspectives on the growth and modification of this craton. Innovations in geochronology, specifically the application of the chemical abrasion technique to remove Pb-loss domains in zircon, and the tandem use of in situ geochemistry and precise isotope dilution age analysis for establishing the petrologic context of radioisotopic ages, are yielding new insights into these old rocks. First, U-Pb geochronology on a variety of plutonic to mesoscale intrusive rocks from the Morton and Montevideo blocks of the MRV provide precise constraints on the Neoarchean (2603–2584 Ma) Sacred Heart orogeny, which sutured the Mesoarchean gneisses of the MRV to the southern margin of the Superior craton in an episode of contractional deformation, high-grade metamorphism, and voluminous plutonism. Second, we report the first radioisotopic age constraints on the St. Leo and Taunton belts of greenstone and supracrustal rocks within the Yellow Medicine shear zone, an inferred lithosphere-scale structure juxtaposed between the Morton and Montevideo gneisses. Titanite from a metadiorite intrusion into the St. Leo belt yields igneous (∼2539 Ma) and metamorphic (∼2510 Ma) ages, confirming the Archean provenance of the host greenstones and revealing a latest Neoarchean episode of magmatism and deformation focused along and within the shear zone. Third, a new ∼1781 Ma U-Pb zircon age for one of a number of small granitic plugs in the southern Montevideo block confirms its correlation to the more voluminous East-Central Minnesota Batholith and its origin in the Yavapai orogeny. Again later magmatism was focused along the Yellow Medicine shear zone suggesting the lithosphere-scale significance of that structure. This more resolved history for the Neoarchean to Proterozoic evolution of the southern Superior craton provides new opportunities to test Archean craton correlations and reconstructions, including links to the Wyoming and Slave cratons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-226
Number of pages21
JournalPrecambrian Research
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Magma mingling
  • Minnesota River Valley
  • Superior craton
  • U-Pb geochronology
  • Wyoming craton
  • Yavapai orogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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