Onset of seafloor spreading in the Iapetus Ocean at 608 Ma: precise age of the Sarek Dyke Swarm, northern Swedish Caledonides

Olaf Svenningsen

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The Sarek Dyke Swarm (SDS) crops out in the Sarektjåkkå Nappe (SN) of the Seve-Kalak Superterrane in the northern Swedish Caledonides. The SN has two main components: (1) a 4–5 km thick succession of rift-related sedimentary rocks, which is intruded by (2) a suite of tholeiitic dykes (the SDS) constituting 70–80% of the nappe. The nappe was deformed during Caledonian thrusting, but dykes and sedimentary rocks in the interior of the eastern parts of the SN are preserved in a pristine state. The tholeiitic dykes of the SDS commonly occur in sheeted dyke complexes, and up to 11 successive generations can be identified from crosscutting relations. The SN represents the fossil continent–ocean transition between the Baltic craton and the Iapetus Ocean, marking the initiation of seafloor spreading. Bubble-shaped pods and veinlets of diorite are present in the SDS sheeted dyke complexes. The pods are absent in the oldest dykes, but the younger a dyke, the more frequent the pods. The diorite pods are the equivalent of gabbro pegmatites, and both cogenetic and coeval with the dykes. The rapid successive emplacement of tholeiitic magma raised the ambient temperature in the dyke complex, so that crystallization in the youngest dykes mimicked similar processes in gabbro plutons. Six zircon fractions, from the diorite pods including two single grains, were analysed geochronologically by the U–Pb thermal ionization mass spectrometry method. The data yield a linear array of points that are 0.4–0.8% normally discordant, indicating a crystallization age of 608±1 Ma (207Pb/206Pb=607.9±0.7 Ma, MSWD=0.33). This age is inferred to date the onset of seafloor spreading in the Iapetus Ocean along the Baltoscandian margin.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPrecambrian Research
Issue number1-4
Pages (from-to)241-254
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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