Chronological constraints on the Paleoproterozoic Francevillian Group in Gabon
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The Francevillian Group in Gabonese Republic was recently established as a typical sedimentary sequence for the Paleoproterozoic. However, its age is rather poorly constrained, mainly based on Rb-Sr and Nd-Sm datings. This study reports new zircon data obtained from Chaillu massif and N'goutou complex, which constrain the protolith age of the basement orthogneisses and the igneous age of an intrusive granite, respectively. Most zircons from the orthogneisses are blue and exhibit oscillatory zoning in cathode-luminescence images. Zircons with lower common lead abundances tend to be distributed close to the concordia curve. Two age clusters around 2860 Ma and 2910 Ma are found in zircons plotted on the concordia curve. Based on the Th/U ratios of zircons, these ages correspond to the protolith ages of the orthogneisses, and the zircons are not metamorphic in origin. Syenites and granites were collected from the N'goutou complex that intrudes into the FA and FB units of the Francevillian Group. The granitoids exhibit chemical composition of A-type granite affinity. Half of zircons separated from the granite are non-luminous, and the remaining half exhibit obscure internal textures under cathode-luminescence observation. All zircon grains contain significant amounts of common lead; the lead isotopic variability is probably attributed to the mixing of two components in the zircons. The zircon radiogenic Pb/Pb ratio is 0.13707 ± 0.0010, corresponding to a Pb/Pb age of 2191 ± 13 Ma. This constrains the minimum depositional age of the FA and FB units. Furthermore, the FB unit consists of manganese-rich carbonate rocks and organic carbon-rich black shales with macroscopic fossils. Based on our age constraints, these organisms appeared in the study area just after the last Paleoproterozoic Snowball Earth event, in concert with global scale oxidation event encompassing the Snowball Earth.
- Geoscience Frontiers
Geoscience Frontiers 8(2), 397-407, 2017-03