ISSN 0016-8521, Geotectonics, 2006, Vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 409–433. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2006.
Original Russian Text © A.I. Slabunov, S.B. Lobach-Zhuchenko, E.V. Bibikova, V.V. Balagansky, P. Sorjonen-Ward, O.I. Volodichev, A.A. Shchipansky, S.A. Svetov, V.P. Chekulaev,
N.A. Arestova, V.S. Stepanov, 2006, published in Geotektonika, 2006, No. 6, pp. 3–32.
The problems of the Early Precambrian geodynam-
ics are hotly debated, and their solutions primarily
depend on obtainment of new data on the geology, geo-
chronology, and deep structure of the Archean com-
plexes [57, 88]. This paper is focused on description of
the Archean geology of the Baltic (Fennoscandian)
Shield—one of the largest Precambrian terranes in
Europe. The necessity to integrate and consider the
available data is dictated by the substantial progress in
the geological, isotopic and geochemical, geochrono-
logical, petrologic, and geophysical studies of the
Archean complexes achieved in the last decade. As a
result, the extensive and qualitatively new data obtained
largely from Russia and Finland have provided new
insights into the tectonic evolution of the Baltic Shield
in the Archean as a whole and during particular time
intervals, thus continuing the previous investigations in
this field [72, 132]. Furthermore, the unique fragments
of the Archean ophiolitic complexes and crustal eclog-
ites have been found recently in the Baltic Shield; these
fragments have very significant implications for under-
standing the Archean geodynamics [57, 88].
Archean rocks occupy most parts of the Karelian,
Murmansk, Belomorian, and Kola provinces (Fig. 1A).
The first two provinces are regarded as Neoarchean cra-
tons, as opposed to the Belomorian Mobile Belt.
The Karelian Province
Shield (Fig. 1B) and is composed of the Archean gran-
ite–greenstone domain [32, 105] that consists of eight
terranes—the Vodlozero, Central Karelian, Ilomantsi–
is a nucleus of the Baltic
The geologic time scale recommended by the International Commis-
sion on Stratigraphy  is used in this paper (Ma): Eoarchean
(>3600), Paleoarchean (3600–3200), Mesoarchean (3200–2800),
Neoarchean (2800–2500), Paleoproterozoic (2500–1600), Mesopro-
terozoic (1600–1000), and Neoproterozoic (1000–542).
The Archean of the Baltic Shield:
Geology, Geochronology, and Geodynamic Settings
A. I. Slabunov, S. B. Lobach-Zhuchenko
, O. I. Volodichev
V. P. Chekulaev , N. A. Arestova
Institute of Geology, Karelian Scientific Center, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Pushkinskaya ul. 11, Petrozavodsk, 185910 Karelia, Russia
Institute of Precambrian Geology and Geochronology, Russian Academy of Sciences,
nab. Makarova 2, St. Petersburg, 199034 Russia
Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Kosygina 19, Moscow, 117975 Russia
Geological Institute, Kola Scientific Center, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Fersmana 14, Apatity, Murmansk oblast, 184200 Russia
Geological Survey of Finland, PO Box 1237, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pyzhevskii per. 7, Moscow, 119017 Russia
Received August 16, 2004
, E. V. Bibikova
, A. A. Shchipansky
, and V. S. Stepanov
, V. V. Balagansky
, S. A. Svetov
sidered. The supracrustal complexes are classified by age: <3.2, 3.10–2.90, 2.90–2.82, 2.82–2.75, and 2.75–
2.65 Ga. The data on Archean granitoid complexes and metamorphic events are mentioned briefly, whereas the
recently found fragments of the Archean ophiolitic and eclogite-bearing associations are discussed in more
detail. The Paleoarchean rocks and sporadic detrital grains of Paleoarchean zircons have been found in the Bal-
tic Shield; however, the relatively large fragments of the continental crust likely began to form only in the
Mesoarchean (3.2–3.1 Ga ago), when the first microcontinents, e.g., Vodlozero and Iisalmi, were created. The
main body of the continental crust was formed 2.90–2.65 Ga ago. The available information on the Pale-
oarchean complexes of the Baltic Shield is thus far too scanty for judgment on their formation conditions. The
geologic, petrologic, isotopic, and geochronological data on the Meso- and Neoarchean lithotectonic com-
plexes testify to their formation in the geodynamic settings comparable with those known in Phanerozoic: sub-
duction-related (ensialic and ensimatic), collisional, spreading-related, continental rifting, and the setting
related to mantle plumes.
—The Archean provinces and lithotectonic complexes of the Baltic (Fennoscandian) Shield are con-
SLABUNOV et al.
[4, 49, 64, 70, 115, 116, 133]. (
zoic Svecofennian Orogen (2.0–1.75 Ga): (
indications of the Archean basement, (
proterozoic rifting: (
) overlain with volcanosedimentary sequences and (
) Kola Province (KP): (
) collisional suture of the Paleoproterozoic (2.30–1.91 Ga) Lapland–Kola collisional orogen including
the Lapland (
) and the Umba (
) granulite belts, (
) collage of tectonic sheets composed of Paleoproterozoic and Archean com-
plexes including the Inari (
) and composite Tersky–Strelna (
melange belts, (
) terranes composed of Archean complexes that were nonuniformly transformed in the Paleoproterozoic; (
morian Mobile Belt (BMB), the Neoarchean collisional orogen that was reworked by Paleoproterozoic rifting and orogenesis
(boundaries are shown with a dashed line); (
) Neoarchean Karelian (KC) and Murmansk (MC) cratons.
(A) Tectonic scheme of the Baltic Shield and (B) main tectonic units of its eastern part, compiled after the data published in
) Neoproterozoic and Phanerozoic sedimentary cover; (
) orogenic complexes (
) late tectonic juvenile granitoids (1.85–1.75 Ga); (
) Caledonian Orogen; (
) that are thrust over the Archean basement and (
) Archean complexes in zones of Paleo-
) exposed Archean complexes of the Karelian Craton;
) terranes and the Tanaelv (
) and Kolvitsa (
Framework of the shield
Crust of the Baltic Shield
Paleo- and Mesoproterozoic
(1.75–1.50 Ga), juvenile
(2.50–1.75 Ga), juvenile
Archean (3.5–2.5 Ga) crust that was partly reworked
in the Paleoproterozoic, locally with
fragments of Paleoproterozoic
Provinces:1 — Karelian
2 — Belomorian
3 — Kola
4 — Murmansk
5 — Svecofennian
6 — Sveconorwegian
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD411
Voknavolok (West Karelian ), Kianta, Iisalmi,
Ranua, Pomokaira, and Ropi [49, 72, 133] (see Fig. 2)—
that differ in the composition and age of rocks. Accord-
ing to recent data, the Nordbottnen Craton and the Ropi
Terrane therein, as well as the Archean rocks in north-
ern Finland (Muonio) and Sweden , are not
included into the Karelian Province but are considered
a self-dependent structural unit.
The Murmansk Province
posed of diverse granite gneisses and granitoids that
contain xenoliths of Archean supracrustal rocks .
The Belomorian Province
largely of Meso- and Neoarchean granite gneisses,
greenstone rocks, and paragneiss complexes. The prov-
ince is distinguished by intense repeated deformations
and high- and moderate-pressure metamorphic events
that occurred in both the Neoarchean and Paleoprotero-
zoic [20, 26, 53, 72].
The Kola Province
(Figs. 1B, 2) is the Archean tec-
tonic collage of the Kola–Norwegian, Keivy, Sos-
novsky, and Kolmozero–Voron’ya terranes . The
collage structure is accentuated by exotic rocks within
the Keivy Terrane . The terranes consist of the
Archean greenstone, schist, paragneiss, granulite, and
granite-gneiss complexes that underwent structural
transformation and metamorphism in the Archean and
Paleoproterozoic. For example, the Keivy Terrane
experienced significant Paleoproterozoic reworking,
whereas the Kola–Norwegian Terrane almost escaped
this process . The Kola and Belomorian provinces
evolved in the Paleoproterozoic similarly, being ele-
ments of the Paleoproterozoic Lapland–Kola colli-
sional orogen . The Svecofennian (1.95–1.75 Ga)
Pechenga–Imandra–Varzuga and Lapland–Kola colli-
sional sutures are localized in the central part of this
orogen [56, 103]. The Lapland–Kola Suture is marked
by the Lapland and Umba granulites and the rocks of
the composite Tersky–Strelna Terrane that served as the
juvenile crustal protolith of granulites [4, 103]. The
same protolith is predominant in the Inari Terrane.
The thickness of the Earth’s crust in the eastern Bal-
tic Shield averages ~40 km and reaches a minimum of
30 km in the northern Vodlozero Terrane and a maxi-
mum of 62 km at the boundary between the Karelian
Craton and Svecofennian Orogen . According to
the seismic data, the crustal structure in the Karelian
and Murmansk provinces is more homogeneous than in
the Belomorian and Kola provinces
(Figs. 1B, 2) is com-
(Figs. 1B, 2) is made up
AND PARAGNEISS) COMPLEXES
occupy the much smaller area of the exposed Archean
rocks (~18% in the Belomorian Province and <10% in
the Karelian and Kola provinces; in the Murmansk
Province they are virtually absent). Nevertheless, pre-
cisely these rocks serve as the basis for our geodynamic
concept [32, 108]. The supracrustal rocks make up
mainly greenstone and paragneiss belts: the complexly
The supracrustal complexes
built and, as a rule, collage-type structural units [36, 51,
55, 56, 128, 129] that consist of one to a few greenstone
complexes, often of different age (Fig. 1B). The schist
belts are characterized by predominance of the volca-
nosedimentary and sedimentary rocks associated with
In the Karelian Province (Fig. 2), the Vodlozero Ter-
rane comprises the Vedlozero–Segozero, Sumozero–
Kenozero, South Vygozero, and Matkalahti greenstone
belts. The first two belts consist of two greenstone com-
plexes of different ages. The fragments of Paleoarchean
supracrustal rocks are known as well .
The Central Karelian Terrane combines the Khedoz-
ero–Bolsheozero and Gimoly greenstone belts. The Ilo-
mantsi–Voknavolok Terrane includes the Ilomantsi
greenstone (schist) belt and the Nurmes paragneiss belt.
The Kianta Terrane embraces the Kuhmo–Suomus-
salmi–Tipasjärvi and Kostomuksha greenstone belts.
The first belt consists of two greenstone complexes of
different ages, while the second belt consists of one
complex. In addition, paragneisses are abundant in the
terrane (Fig. 2); however, their structural setting
remains unclear. The West Puolanka paragneiss belt is
traceable in the Iisalmi Terrane [110, 116]. The poorly
exposed Ranua Terrane includes the insufficiently stud-
ied Oijärvi greenstone belt. The Pomokaira Terrane is
composed of granitoids.
In the Belomorian Province, the North Karelian
greenstone belt combines three greenstone complexes
of different ages. Each of the Yena, Tulppio, Pebozero,
Central Belomorian, and Voche-Lambina belts consists
of one complex. The Chupa paragneiss belt is an impor-
tant structural unit.
In the Kola Province, the Kola–Norwegian Terrane
contains the Olenegorsk greenstone belt composed of
one greenstone complex and the Kola paragneiss belt.
The Kolmozero–Voron’ya Terrane consists largely of the
greenstone complex of the same name; presumably older
gabbroids are noted as well. The Sosnovsky Terrane is
devoid of the reliably identified greenstone belts.
To trace lateral inhomogeneities of the Archean
supracrustal rocks important for geodynamic interpre-
tation, the complexes related to the specific time inter-
vals are considered separately.
The Paleoarchean greenstone belts are severely lim-
ited in occurrence (Fig. 2). They have been described
only in the southeastern Karelian Province in the core
of the Vodlozero Terrane, where they are composed of
komatiites and pillow metabasalts of the Volotsk
Sequence . Their Paleoarchean age is determined
from the Sm–Nd isochron for whole-rock samples of
komatiites and basalts that yielded
It cannot be ruled out that some gneisses and amphibo-
lites (amphibolite I) of the Vodlozero gneiss complex
are highly metamorphosed calc-alkaline volcanic rocks
with an age of 3.30–3.55 Ga
Unless otherwise specified, the age estimates given here and
hereinafter were obtained with the U–Pb method for zircon.
SLABUNOV et al.
The overwhelming majority of supracrustal rocks
are related to the Meso- and Neoarchean greenstone
and schist complexes dated at 3.10–2.90, 2.90–2.82,
2.82–2.75, and 2.75–2.65 Ga. The ages of paragneiss
complexes are 2.90–2.82 and 2.75–2.65 Ga.
Supracrustal Complexes Formed 3.1–2.9 Ga Ago
The greenstone complexes of this age are known in
the Vedlozero–Segozero, South Vygozero, Sumozero–
Kenozero, and Kuhmo–Suomussalmi–Tipasjärvi green-
stone belts of the Karelian Province (Fig. 2). Their con-
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD 413
tacts with younger greenstone complexes are, as a rule,
tectonic. The Kolmozero–Voron’ya greenstone belt of
the Kola Province is composed largely of the greenstone
complex that formed 2.90–2.82 Ga ago. The tectonized
differentiated gabbro–anorthosite massifs (Patchem-
varek, etc.) that occur nearby within granitoid domains
of the Murmansk Province are also related to this belt
. These gabbroic rocks are the oldest basic intru-
sions known in the Kola Peninsula (
The Vedlozero–Segozero greenstone belt
located at the western margin of the Vodlozero Terrane
and consists of two complexes of different ages (Fig. 3).
The older complex, in turn, comprises two rock associ-
ations dated at 3.05–2.95 Ga .
(1) The basalt–andesite–dacite association is repre-
sented in full in the Chalka Zone (northern Hautavaara
structural unit) and comprises pillow and amygdaloid
lavas, fragmental intermediate and felsic lavas, tuffs of
the same composition, necks, and dikes. Their visible
thickness is estimated at 2.5 km. The age of subvolca-
nic dacitic andesite is
is dated at
Ma . The rocks belong to the
differentiated calc-alkaline series of normal alkalinity
with geochemical characteristics typical of the Phaner-
ozoic island-arc volcanics: Sr/Y < 12, Ce/Nb < 4.5,
Th/Nb < 0.72,
subvolcanic rocks are close in geochemistry to adak-
ites. This association is a relict of the oldest volcanic
island arc known in the Baltic Shield .
(2) The komatiite–basalt association (Fig. 3) up to
2.7 km in thickness occurs in the Hautavaara, Koikary,
Palaselga (Palalamba), and Sovdozero structural units
. The Sm–Ns isochron age of this association is
= +1.5 . The upper age limit
was determined by U–Pb dating of dacite dikes, which
Ma  and
well as by U–Pb dating of gabbrodiorite intrusion,
Ma . The sequence is
composed of diverse lavas, including pillow, variolitic,
Ma ; andesitic lava
= 1.3. The
Ma , as
and spinifex varieties; pyroclastic interlayers occupy no
more that 5% of the sequence’s volume [78, 134]. The
Al-undepleted pyroxenite and basaltic komatiites and
tholeiitic basalts are dominant; their intrusive equiva-
lents consist of magnesian gabbro and serpentinized
ultramafic rocks. This association is interpreted as
derivatives of a mantle plume beneath a backarc basin
in the subduction-related geodynamic setting .
The South Vygozero greenstone belt.
Zone is composed largely of metabasalts with sporadic
interlayers of basaltic komatiite and agglomeratic tuff
[45, 72]. The basalt–komatiite association is character-
ized by the Sm–Nd isochron that yield an age of
Ma [85, 45]. Basalts are cut through by gabbroic and
tonalitic intrusive bodies and metarhyolite dikes.
Basalts belong to the tholeiitic series with elevated Cr
(250–500 ppm) and Ni (100–150 ppm) contents. Two
groups of rocks are distinguished by their REE con-
tents. One group is depleted in LREE ((La/Sm)N = 0.5)
and characterized by a low total sum of REE; the other
group reveals a slightly differentiated pattern
((La/Sm)N = 0.65–0.90) and has total REE contents that
are 10–16 times greater than the chondritic level. The
εNd(t) of metabasalt is 1.6 ± 0.5 , thereby suggest-
ing that the depleted mantle is a source and that crustal
contamination is absent. The association is interpreted
as a derivative of the mantle plume [3, 45, 96].
The Sumozero–Kenozero greenstone belt. Two
spatially juxtaposed heterogeneous complexes of dif-
ferent ages are recognized . The older complex is
komatiite–basalt in composition. Its Sm–Nd whole-
rock isochron yields 2916 ± 117 Ma in the Lake
Kamennoe structural unit  and 2960 ± 150 Ma in
the Kenozero structural unit . The komatiite–basalt
complex consists mainly of pillow lavas of tholeiitic
basalts and metakomatiitic lavas, including those with
spinifex texture. Interlayers of felsic volcanics, tuffs, and
graphite-bearing schists, as well as crosscutting basic
and felsic dikes and plagiogranite bodies, are noted.
Fig. 2. Geologic scheme of the Archean in the Baltic Shield, compiled after the data published in [1, 4, 15, 36, 37, 49, 51, 64, 67,
70, 104, 109, 112, 113, 115, 116, 132, 133]. (1) Phanerozoic complexes; (2) Neo- and Mesoproterozoic complexes; (3–7) Paleopro-
terozoic complexes: (3) rapakivi granite (1.65–1.62 Ga), (4) granitoids (1.85–1.75 Ga), (5) volcanosedimentary complexes (2.06–
1.85 Ga), (6) complexes of the Lapland and Umba granulite belts (2.0–1.91 Ga), (7) volcanosedimentary complexes (2.50–2.06 Ga);
(8) tectonic collages composed of Paleoproterozoic and Neoarchean complexes (In and TS are the Inari and Tersky–Strelna terranes,
respectively); (9–22) Archean complexes: (9) gabbroids; (10) sanukitoids (2.74–2.72 Ga), including the Tavajärvi Massif (Ta);
(11) granulite complexes (2.74–2.72 Ga for the main phase) including the Varpaisjärvi (Vp), Voknavolok (Vk), Tulos (Tl), Onega
(On), Notozero (Nt), Kola (Kl), and Pudasjärvi (Pd) complexes; (12) eclogite-bearing Gridino (Gd) and Salmi (Sa) complexes;
(13) paragneiss complexes (2.70–2.78 Ga), including the Nurmes Complex (N); (14–17) greenstone complexes (letters in boxes are
the main greenstone and schist belts of the Baltic Shield, including the Vedlozero–Segozero (VS), Voche-Lambina (Vch), Yena (Ye),
Ilomantsi (Il), Keivy schist belt (Kv), Kolmozero–Voron’ya (KVo), Kostomuksha (Kst), Kuhmo–Suomussalmi–Tipasjärvi (KT),
Matkalahti (M), Olenegorsk (Ol), North Karelian (NK), Sumozero–Kenozero (SK), Tulppio (T), Khedozero–Bolsheozero (KhB),
Central Belomorian (CB), and South Vygozero (SV): (14) 2.75–2.65 Ga; (15) 2.82–2.75 Ga; (16) 2.90–2.82 Ga; including
(a) greenstone belts, (b) Kv schist belt, (c) CB belt with fragments of oceanic crust; (17) 3.10–2.92 Ga, including the Chupa (Chu)
and Kola (Ko) belts; (18) paragneiss complexes, 2.90–2.82 Ga; (19–22) granite-gneiss complexes: (19) 2.90–2.70 Ga, including
(a) the Central Karelian (CK), Kola–Norwegian (KN), and Sosnovsky (So) terranes; (b) the Belomorian Mobile Belt (BMB), Kianta
(Ki) and Ropi (R) terranes and the Murmansk Craton; (c) the Keivy Terrane (Ke) with alkali granites; (20) 3.10–2.70 Ga, including
the Ilomantsi–Voknavolok Terrane (IV) and the margin of the Vodlozero Terrane; (21) 3.60–2.90 Ga in the Iisalmi (Ii), Pomokaira (P),
Ranua (Ra), and Vodlozero (Vo) terranes; (22) metavolcanics of the Volotsk Sequence (3.39 Ga); (23) faults: (a) main thrust,
(b) normal and reverse, (c) strike-slip, and (d) inferred.
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
Komatiites (~30 wt % MgO in the spinifex zone)
belong to the group of Al-undepleted rocks; the REE
patterns of komatiites and tholeiitic basalts are close to
the MORB-type. Weak positive Nb anomalies are
recorded in spidergrams. The εNd(2875) value is close
to +2.7, thus indicating that the depleted mantle was a
source . The Cu–Ni ore occurrences are related to
komatiites. In terms of isotopic and geochemical signa-
tures, the komatiite–basalt association is comparable
with complexes of oceanic plateaus  genetically
related to the mantle plumes.
The Kuhmo–Suomussalmi–Tipasjärvi green-
stone belt. The Luoma and Saarijärvi groups divided
by a tectonic zone  are recognized in the northern-
most part of the Suomussalmi Belt (Fig. 2). The older
Luoma Group is composed of basic, intermediate, and
felsic lavas and tuffs; the tuffaceous facies locally hosts
the stratiform Ag–Zn–Pb ore mineralization [133, 137].
Nearly concordant bodies of metagabbro and uralite
porphyrites probably are the intrusive equivalents of the
Saarijärvi basalts. There is a considerable amount of
metaandesites in the Luoma Group. Their zircon age
was estimated at 2966 ± 9 Ma; however, it cannot be
ruled out that zircons are xenogenic, and metaandesites
are much younger [133, 137]. The intermediate and fel-
sic volcanics of the Luoma Group are characterized by a
strongly fractionated REE pattern  and probably
belong to subduction-related adakite-like igneous rocks.
Supracrustal Complexes Formed 2.90–2.82 Ga Ago
These complexes are widespread in the framework
of the Vodlozero Terrane in the Karelian Province as
well as in the Belomorian and Kola provinces.
In the Vedlozero–Segozero greenstone belt, the
greenstone complex of this age is composed of felsic
volcanics and various sedimentary rocks. The most
complete section has been described in the Koikary
structural unit (Fig. 3). Here, the Janis paleovolcano
consists of lava breccias, lavas, and block agglomerate
tuffs; a feeder is filled with subvolcanic dacite. The
chemogenic silicites were deposited in the crater lake.
Tuffs, tuffites, tuffstones, tuffaceous conglomerates,
and silicites occur at the periphery of paleovolcano.
The subvolcanic intrusions are composed of dacite and
rhyolite. The dacitic andesites erupted in the subaerial
environment . Lavas were inferior in abundance to
the products of volcanic explosions. The age of felsic
volcanics related to the Janis paleovolcano is 2860 ±
15 Ma ; dikes in the Hautavaara structural unit are
dated at 2862 ± 45 Ma .
The intermediate and felsic volcanics belong to the
sodic series . The silica content ranges from 52 to
76 wt %; (La/Sm)N = 3.0, (Gd/Yb)N = 2.3, and
(Ce/Yb)N = 5.8. The tuffaceous rocks are characterized
by more fractionated REE patterns: (La/Sm)N = 3.5–4.1
and (Ce/Yb)N = 22–26. The dacitic andesite (lava) con-
tains 5.2–6.2 ppm Th, 13–29 ppm La, 2.6–5.4 ppm Hf,
Fig. 3. Geological sketch-map of the Vedlozero–Segoz-
ero greenstone belt, after [77, 78]. (1, 2) Proterozoic:
(1) rapakivi granite, (2) volcanosedimentary complexes;
(3–6) Neoarchean: (3) sanukitoid-type diorite and grano-
diorite (2.74 Ga), (4) gabbrodiorite, (5) gabbronorite,
(6) mafic–ultramafic complexes; (7–13) Mesoarchean:
(7) two-feldspar granite (2.85–2.87 Ga), (8) adakite-type
andesitic–dacitic metavolcanics and related metasedimen-
tary rocks (2.86–2.85 Ga), (9) high-Mg gabbro, (10) komati-
ite–basalt association (2.95–3.00 Ga), (11) calc-alkaline and
adakite-type metavolcanics (2.95–3.0 Ga), (12) amphibo-
lite, (13) granite gneiss (3.15–3.0 Ga); (14) paleovolcanoes
of the (1–5) Hautovaara and (6–9) Semch–Koikary green-
stone structural units; (15) faults. Paleovolcanoes (numerals
in the figure): (1) Nyalmozero, (2) Ignoila, (3) Hautavaara,
(4) Maselga, (5) Chalka, (6) Janis, (7) Korbozero,
(8) Elmus, (9) Semch.
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD415
and <10 ppm Nb; La/Yb = 7–9, Ti/V = 60–70, Hf/Yb =
3–4, and Ti/Zr = 16–37.
This complex was formed in the suprasubduction
setting of the Andean type (active continental margin)
The Sumozero–Kenozero greenstone belt. The
second, younger greenstone complex of the Lake
Kamennoe structural unit consists of metavolcanic
rocks that belong to the basalt–andesite–dacite–rhyo-
lite (BADR) series with interlayers of carbonaceous
and carbonate schists and quartzite accompanied by
subvolcanic intrusions of the adakite series [39, 74,
128]. The ages of the BADR and adakite series are
2875 ± 2 and 2876 ± 5 Ma, respectively .
The rocks of the BADR series are low-Mg and
enriched in LREE ((La/Sm)N = 1.4 in basalt and andes-
ite and 3.3 in rhyolite) and depleted in Nb and Ti; the
adakitic rhyolite has a fractionated REE pattern
((La/Sm)N = 3.8–5.1 and (Gd/Yb)N = 2.8–4.5) .
Such differentiated series are formed in subduction
zones as products of melting of the mantle wedge and
plunging slab, respectively .
The North Karelian system of greenstone belts in
the Belomorian Province comprises the Tikshozero and
Keret belts (Fig. 2). In these belts, three greenstone
complexes are distinguished: Keretozero (2.88–2.82 Ga),
Hisovaara (2.80–2.78 Ga)  (from which we have
disregarded a younger lithotectonic association ),
and Chelozero (~2.75 Ga) .
The Keretozero Complex that occupies most of the
Keret Belt consists of three lithotectonic associations:
(1) komatiite–tholeiite, (2) intermediate and felsic
metavolcanics, and (3) basaltic andesites and andesites
[16, 82, 83, 86]. Metabasalts of the komatiite–tholeiite
association are referred to the sodic tholeiitic series,
while the high-Mg rocks are classed with komatiites of
the Al-undepleted type (10–37 wt % MgO, 0.19–
0.90 wt % TiO2, Al2O3/TiO2 ≈ 20, CaO/Al2O3 = 0.64–
0.90, Zr/Y = 2–3) enriched in LREE.
The intermediate and felsic metatuffs (from basaltic
andesite to rhyolite, with predominance of andesite and
dacite), metalavas (2877 ± 45 Ma), and subvolcanic
intrusions (2829 ± 30 Ma) make up most of the com-
plex. The Sm–Nd model age of andesite (
is close to the U–Pb age of zircons from this rock,
thereby indicating the absence of significant crustal
contamination (εNd(2.8) = +2.8) . The metasedi-
mentary interbeds in the basaltic andesite–andesite
association are distinguished by high Cr and Ni con-
tents (up to 570 and 130 ppm, respectively) and, thus,
are products of erosion of volcanic rocks, including
basalts and komatiites . Graywackes of this compo-
sition are typical of ensimatic island arcs .
In terms of geochemistry, basaltic andesites and
more felsic rocks are comparable with volcanics of the
mature island arcs. The volcanic complex marks the
early (2.9–2.8 Ga) subduction-related stage of the evo-
= 2.80 Ga)
lution of the Neoarchean Belomorian collisional oro-
gen [16, 83, 132].
The Central Belomorian greenstone belt in the
Belomorian Province  was initially regarded as a
mafic zone [16, 50, 72]. This is a narrow (0.5–3.0 km)
belt, which is traced along the axis of the province for
150–160 km from NW to SE and probably extends far-
ther to the southeast (Fig. 2). The belt is subdivided into
four segments composed of amphibolites and subordi-
nate ultramafic rocks [16, 86].
The Seryak fragment is the best preserved well
exposed element of the belt, which is traceable for more
than 70 km. The largest (up to 300 m thick) ultramafic
body is located precisely in this segment. This serpen-
tinite body with relict olivine (Fo84–86), orthopyroxene
(En85–86), and spinel (ferrialumochromite with >29%
Cr2O3) is metamorphosed harzburgite; dunite and
orthopyroxenite have been identified in this complex as
well. The ultramafic rocks are commonly depleted in
LREE ((La/Yb)N = 0.52); varieties with U-shaped REE
patterns are known as well. Metabasalts (amphibolites)
correspond to tholeiites in chemical composition and
are comparable with MORB; some varieties may be
correlated with OIB [16, 50, 52, 72, 83]. The mafic–
ultramafic sequence is cut through by diorite dated at
2.85 ± 0.01 Ga .
The trondhjemitic gneiss with an elevated Fe mole
fraction, which indicates that this gneiss belongs to the
tholeiitic series, was found in the mafic–ultramafic
complex of the Lake Louhi–Pizemsky fragment. Mag-
matic zircon from this gneiss dated at 2878 ± 13 Ma
determines the upper limit of the belt’s age . The
model Nd age of the gneiss is 2840 Ma and εNd(2.88) is
+2.7; these parameters testify to the juvenile nature of
Thus, the available geological, isotopic, and
geochemical data allow us to regard the mafic–ultrama-
fic rocks of the greenstone complex as a tectonically
disintegrated and metamorphosed fragment of the
Mesoarchean ophiolitic association [16, 50, 72, 83].
The Chupa paragneiss belt of the Belomorian
Province consists of migmatized kyanite–garnet–
biotite and biotite gneisses with small lenses of fine-
grained garnet–biotite gneiss that are commonly
regarded as relicts of the least altered sedimentary pro-
tolith [11, 60, 72]. However, some authors suggest that
the contribution of volcanic rocks was substantial .
The elevated Ni, V, Co, and Cr contents indicate that
paragneisses originally were graywackes, i.e., the prod-
ucts of destruction of mafic and ultramafic rocks and
related felsic volcanics in a forearc basin [60, 72]. The
thin interlayers of calc-alkaline intermediate-to-felsic
volcanic rocks (mainly dacite) comparable with island-
arc volcanics and sporadic tholeiitic bodies [60, 72] are
additional evidence for the formation of this sequence
in a forearc basin.
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
The Nd model age of 3.01–2.83 Ga [60, 99, 136]
and the U–Pb age of 3.2–2.9 Ga for detrital zircons 
define the maximum age of the sedimentary protolith.
The earliest metamorphic zircons are dated at 2.85–
2.80 Ga . The age of metadacite incorporated into
the Chupa graywackes is 2870 ± 20 Ma . Thus, the
sedimentary rocks subsequently transformed into
paragneisses were deposited 2.87–2.85 Ga ago.
The graywackes were deposited in a forearc basin
located in front of the volcanic arc marked by andesite,
dacite, and basaltic andesite of the Keretozero Complex
The Kolmozero–Voron’ya greenstone belt is a
narrow linear structural feature that delineates the
boundary between the Kola and Murmansk provinces.
The komatiite–tholeiite and basalt–andesite–dacite
associations, together with two terrigenous rock associ-
ations, make up these belts [24, 64, 72]. They all are
bounded by faults and were juxtaposed with one
another in the course of Neoarchean collision ; i.e.,
the section comprises a series of tectonic sheets.
The spinifex texture is observable in komatiites
from the komatiite–tholeiite association; lava breccias
are noted as well [24, 84]. Komatiites and komatiitic
basalts, as well as high-Mg and high-Fe metabasalts,
are distinguished . All these rocks are characterized
by depletion in REE and by unfractionated REE pat-
terns ((Ce/Sm)N = 0.87–1.5 and (Gd/Yb)N = 1.02–1.55)
The age of komatiite formation is estimated at
2826 ± 60 Ma (Sm–Nd whole-rock isochron) . The
Nd systematics of rocks belonging to this association
(εNd(2879) = +2.5 ± 0.3) and their geochemical signa-
tures allow us to assume that a mantle plume was the
source of komatiitic and basaltic melts. In particular,
komatiites could have been generated in a transitional
zone between the upper and lower mantle [23, 24, 72].
The basalt–andesite–dacite association is composed
of calc-alkaline subduction-related volcanics . The
age of quartz porphyry from the Voron’ya Tundra is
2828 ± 8 Ma .
The terrigenous associations consist of poorly dif-
ferentiated metasediments (garnet–biotite gneiss) and
contrasting series varying from metagraywacke (alu-
mina gneiss) to polymictic conglomerate .
The formation of mafic associations is related to
mantle plumes , while calc-alkaline volcanics are
attributed to the subduction-related melting of the oce-
anic crust that divided the Murmansk and Kola prov-
inces. These rock associations have been juxtaposed as
a result of collision [56, 63].
The Kola paragneiss complex of the Kola–Norwe-
gian Terrane is composed of garnet–biotite (often with
sillimanite and cordierite and rarely with kyanite and
staurolite) gneiss with sporadic interlayers of (i) two-
mica, biotite, amphibole, and biotite–amphibole
gneisses; (ii) amphibolite; (iii) amphibole–pyroxene,
amphibole–magnetite, and pyroxene–magnetite schists;
and (iv) jaspilite [1, 64, 68]. Some varieties of high-Al
gneisses reveal relicts of graded bedding and thus are
interpreted as metasedimentary rocks (paragneisses).
The high-Al gneiss corresponds to graywacke in
composition; high Cr (85–165 ppm) and Ni (42 ppm)
contents provide additional evidence in favor of their
sedimentary, rather than volcanic, origin, as suggested
in . These paragneisses (comparable in chemical
composition with intermediate-to-felsic calc-alkaline
volcanics) are depleted in Nb and Ti and characterized
by strongly fractionated REE patterns  probably as
a result of the predominance of island-arc volcanics in
the provenance. The isotopic data suggest that the pro-
tolith consisted largely of the Meso- and Neoarchean
juvenile materials: does not exceed 3.0 Ga [118,
136]. These data are consistent with zircon ages: the
age of the best preserved detrital zircon grains of origi-
nally magmatic origin is 2910 ± 21 Ma in age, whereas
the ages of most numerous metamorphic zircons are
2788 ± 16 and 2743 ± 18 Ma . The findings of zir-
con grains dated at 3606 ± 16 Ma  show that a Paleo-
archean component occurs in the protolith. This com-
ponent is identical to that in the Umba paragranulites
(3.6 Ma) . The sedimentary rocks likely were
formed 2.9–2.8 Ga ago.
Thus, the Kola paragneiss complex could have been
formed in a backarc basin almost contemporaneously
with island-arc volcanics of the Kolmozero–Voron’ya
The Keivy schist belt in the Kola Province consists
of biotite (occasionally with garnet and often with hast-
ingsite and microcline) gneiss of the Lebyazhino
Sequence and biotite–amphibole gneisses and amphib-
olites of the Kolovai and Patchervtundra sequences,
which are overlain with unconformity by kyanite, stau-
rolite–kyanite, sillimanite (with garnet) and carbon-
aceous schists, metasandstones, and quartzites of the
Chervurt, Vykhchurt, and Pestsovotundra sequences
 combined into the Keivy Sequence. The section of
the belt is commonly regarded as a stratified sequence.
However, it cannot be ruled out that the section is actu-
ally composed of imbricate tectonic sheets that were
juxtaposed in the course of Neoarchean collision .
The Lebyazhino Gneiss is interpreted as felsic
metavolcanics of normal and elevated alkalinity,
depleted in Ti, and with a pronounced Nb minimum in
spidergram. The hastingsite-bearing varieties are con-
sidered products of alkaline metasomatism [56, 64].
The age of volcanism is estimated at 2871 ± 15 Ma [6, 7].
The biotite–amphibole gneiss and amphibolite of the
schist complex are interpreted as metabasalts and
metaandesites of the calc-alkaline series.
The igneous rocks are comparable in terms of
geochemistry with volcanics of the active continental
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD417
Supracrustal Complexes Formed 2.82–2.75 Ga Ago
The complexes of this age make up the Kostomuk-
sha greenstone belt and the majority of the Kuhmo–
Suomussalmi–Tipasjärvi Belt in the Karelian Province.
These complexes are widespread in the North Karelian
system of greenstone belts, the Yena and Pebozero
greenstone belts of the Belomorian Province, and the
Olenegorsk Belt of the Kola Province.
The Kuhmo–Suomussalmi–Tipasjärvi green-
stone belt consists of komatiite–basalt, (andesite)–dac-
ite–rhyolite, high-Fe basalt, and sedimentary associa-
tions. The first two associations are predominant. As a
rule, metabasalts are banded amphibolites. However,
the massive and pillow varieties, as well as interlayers
of jaspilite and carbonaceous and mica schists, are
noted as well. Komatiites comprise both spinifex-tex-
tured and cumulative facies. A komatiitic lava river
with granodiorite inclusions incorporated into the lava
is known in the Pahakangas district . Cumulative
gabbro is associated with komatiites. Basalts are related
to the tholeiitic series; komatiitic basalts are also
known, including a variety with a high Cr content that
reaches 2000 ppm. The LREE and HREE contents in
basalts are 2–10 and 8–10 times higher, respectively,
than in chondrite. The REE patterns are low fraction-
ated: (La/Sm)N = 0.4–1.5 [126, 135]. The varieties
enriched in LREE occur sporadically. The LREE-
depleted komatiites with (La/Sm)N = 0.4–1.5  are
predominant. The age of cumulative gabbro from the
komatiite–basalt association is estimated at 2757 ±
20 Ma .
The (andesite)–dacite–rhyolite association com-
posed of lavas, breccias, tuffs, and tuffites (2798 ± 15,
2810 ± 48, and 2791 ± 8 Ma in age) occurs in several
isolated structural units [112, 123, 133]. The age of the
Moisiovaara gabbroic sill that intruded into the felsic
volcanic rocks is 2790 ± 18 Ma . The sedimentary
association is composed of polymictic conglomerate,
graywacke, and quartzite. Sporadic grains with an age
reaching 3 Ga were detected among detrital zircons in
It is suggested that this greenstone belt was formed
under conditions of continental rifting [108, 123, 133].
The Kostomuksha greenstone belt hosts the eco-
nomic iron deposit of the same name. The belt consists
of basalt–komatiite, rhyolite–dacite, and sedimentary
(ferruginous–siliceous) associations [36, 44, 74, 87].
The Sm–Nd isochron ages of basalt and komatiite
are estimated at 2843 ± 39  and 2808 ± 95 Ma
, respectively. Sporadic interlayers of jaspilite, car-
bonaceous schist, and tuff are intercalated into massive,
pillow, and variolitic basaltic lavas. The zircon age
(SHRIMP-II) of the sodic tuff coeval with the oldest
Niemijärvi Basalt is estimated at 2791.7 ± 6.1 Ma .
In geochemical signatures, basalts and komatiites
are comparable with similar rocks of oceanic plateaus.
They are depleted in Th and LREE ((La/Sm)N = 0.66),
characterized by a flat HREE pattern ((Gd/Yb)N = 1), a
chondritic Ti/Zr ratio, a slight positive Nb anomaly, and an
average εNd(t) of +2.8 . Negative εNd(t) values down
to –3.44 were calculated for two basaltic samples .
The evolved and unfractionated komatiitic lavas
host rare tuffaceous units; peridotitic sills are wide-
spread . The Al-depleted komatiites are depleted in
LREE ((La/Sm)N = 0.48; (Gd/Yb)N = 1.2) . The
Re–Os isotopic data suggest that they were derived
from a plume that arose at the core/mantle boundary:
γ187Os = +3.6 ± 1.0 .
The rhyolite–dacite association (Shurlovaara For-
mation, after ) consists of various lavas, tuffs, and
tuffites with interlayers of carbonaceous schist and jas-
pilite; dikes and subvolcanic intrusions are known. Age
estimates of 2790 ± 21 Ma , 2791 ± 24 Ma (ion
microprobe) , and 2795 ± 10 Ma  have been
obtained. Gor’kovets and Raevskaya  classified the
volcanic rocks as calc-alkaline rhyolite and dacite (spo-
radic andesite) with a distinct negative Nb anomaly
. Two geochemically different groups of rocks are
distinguished: (1) high-K rocks with highly fraction-
ated REE patterns ((La/Sm)N = 4.9–6.2; (Gd/Yb)N =
2.5–3.7) and low Al2O3, Sr, and Y and (2) an adakitic
group with fractionated REE patterns ((La/Sm)N = 2.9–
5.3; (Gd/Yb)N = 1.4–2.1) and high Y and Sr . The
plutonic analogues of these rocks are known. The εNd(t)
varies from –6.21 to +1.59 . These geochemical sig-
natures indicate that the volcanic rocks were related to at
least two mantle and ancient crustal sources [75, 130].
The sedimentary association consists of conglomer-
ate; jaspilite, including the orebody; and graywacke
with thin interlayers of andesite–dacite–rhyolite tuffs
 and komatiite bodies . The basal conglomerate
contains pebbles of metarhyodacite (60%), amphibole
schist, and amphibolite (30–40%) . The terrigenous
sedimentary rocks are poorly differentiated, immature,
and comparable with graywackes from the Neoarchean
greenstone belts. The provenance was composed of
approximately the same amounts of basic and felsic
rocks . The age of dacitic tuffite from this association
is estimated at 2787 ± 8 Ma . This estimate probably
indicates the time of the formation of this rock.
Thus, all three rock associations in this greenstone
belt were formed at approximately the same time 2.80–
2.79 Ga ago but in different geodynamic settings.
Two models of the formation of the Kostomuksha
greenstone belt are the most popular. According to
[44, 87], all associations were formed in a continental
rift. The mafic rocks made up a volcanic plateau, as
indicated by the occurrence of komatiitic sills in the
sedimentary sequence and negative εNd(t) values of
some komatiites from borehole cores. Another model
assumes that the greenstone belt is a tectonic collage
that arose as a result of accretion of almost coeval man-
tle-plume volcanic plateau and subduction-related
igneous and sedimentary rocks [36, 37, 75, 128].
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
The Matkalahti greenstone belt is situated in the
central, very poorly exposed part of the Vodlozero Ter-
rane in the Karelian Province (Fig. 2). The belt is com-
posed of alternating metasedimentary rocks (quartz aren-
ite, graywacke, carbonaceous schist) and mylonitized
metavolcanic rocks of the basalt–komatiite association
with rare interlayers of foliated felsic metavolcanics
. The age of detrital zircons from quartz arenite and
graywacke varies from 3.33 to 2.82 Ga. Thus, this con-
trasting complex is younger than 2.82 Ga. The complex
probably formed under conditions of intracratonic rift-
The North Karelian system of greenstone belts.
The entire Tikshozero greenstone belt and the northern
segment of the Keret Belt are composed of supracrustal
rocks of the Hisovaara Complex (2.80–2.77 Ga) that
marks the late, subduction-related and accretionary set-
ting in the evolution of the Belomorian Province. This
complex has been studied most thoroughly in the His-
ovaara and Iringora structural units (Figs. 4A, 4B)
Fig. 4. Geological maps of the (A) Hisovaara and (B) Iringora structural units of the North Karelian system of greenstone belts,
compiled after the data published in [15, 36, 93, 95, 131].
2778 ± 21
2783 ± 10
2804 ± 27
2782 ± 9
2826 ± 18
U–Pb zircon age,
Lower mafic rocks
of boninite series
Strike and dip symbols
Main thrust faults
Older thrust faults
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD419
[15, 36, 37, 93, 95]. No less than four lithotectonic
units are recognized in the Hisovaara structural unit: the
lower mafic, metaandesitic, volcanosedimentary, and
The mafic association comprises four geochemical
types formed under different conditions (from bottom
to top): (1) island-arc tholeiitic metavolcanics,
(2) metavolcanics of the boninite series that consists of
low-Ti primitive metabasalt and metaboninite proper,
(3) OIB-type high-Ti metabasalts, and (4) metabasalts
close to MORB in composition . The ultramafic
rocks and high-Mg basic rocks are additional constitu-
ents of this association.
The andesitic sequence consists of amygdaloid,
massive, and glomeroporphyritic high-Na andesites,
which mainly exhibit a tholeiitic fractionation trend
. The age of metamorphic zircon from andesite is
2777 ± 5 Ma .
The andesite–dacite–rhyolite metavolcanics are
characterized by the calc-alkaline fractionation trend.
Their age is estimated at 2778 ± 21 Ma; zircons from
the related sedimentary rocks yield 2728 ± 82 Ma
[15, 131]. The pillow lavas from the upper association
locally overlap the underlying rocks with angular uncon-
formity, and komatiite sills occur at its base [36, 37].
In general, the Hisovaara greenstone complex is a
tectonic collage of the aforementioned rock associa-
tions, the formation of which was related to the origina-
tion and subsequent evolution of the ensimatic island-
arc system and its forearc zone about 2.8 Ga ago .
The occurrence of metavolcanics of the boninite series
(Fig. 4A) serves as direct evidence for the formation of
the North Karelian Belt in such a setting .
The geochemistry of the mafic association in the
Hisovaara structural unit indicates its ensimatic (ophio-
lite-like ) nature, but the degree of the subsequent
deformation was so significant that the primary features
of the inferred ophiolitic section have been obliterated
The Iringora structural unit is a less deformed por-
tion of the Tikshozero Belt (Figs. 2, 4B). This unit com-
prises similar lithotectonic associations but contains the
well-preserved fragments of ophiolites, a unique phe-
nomenon as concerns the Archean [93, 131].
The Iringora ophiolites (Fig. 4B) are components of
the complexly built thrust packets that gently plunge to
the NNE. These packets consist of mafic metavolca-
nics, analogues of the upper tholeiites and boninite
series of Hisovaara. These rocks are thrust over the
island-arc complex of the intermediate and felsic calc-
alkaline metavolcanics and related volcanosedimentary
rocks, which may be regarded as a paraautochthon for
the ophiolitic thrust schists (Fig. 4B). In addition,
supracrustal rocks of the Iringora structural unit were
subjected to intense deformation and metamorphism,
but their primary volcanic and sedimentary structures
are occasionally retained.
The best preserved fragment of ophiolites was found
on the northern coast of Lake Irinozero [93, 131],
where the lava and gabbroic complexes crop out along
with fragments of the sheeted dike complex grading in
the overlying lavas and the melange complex at the
base of the ophiolitic nappe.
The boninite series of the North Karelian Belt is
identical in its geochemical and isotopic characteristics
to the upper pillow lavas of the Troodos ophiolites,
which are regarded as a reference high-Ca boninite
series [92, 131]. The similarity of the Neoarchean and
Late Mesozoic boninite series suggests a similarity in
their petrogenetic formation conditions.
The structure of the Iringora Unit indicates that the
ophiolitic complex was thrust over a mature island arc
and related volcanosedimentary wedge. This circum-
stance, in turn, implies that ophiolites were formed in
the setting of forearc spreading, as assumed for their
modern counterparts . Thus, the formation mech-
anism and evolution of suprasubduction ophiolites in
the Neoarchean did not differ principally from those
known in the following geological history .
The Olenegorsk greenstone belt in the Kola–Nor-
wegian Terrane is composed of metavolcanic rocks that
vary in composition from basalt to rhyodacite together
with metasedimentary rocks, including garnet–biotite
gneiss (occasionally with staurolite or sillimanite) and
jaspilite that make up economic iron deposits [64, 70].
The age of metavolcanics (leptites) is 2760 ± 7 Ma
. The deformation and metamorphism of the belt
occurred soon after the deposition of sedimentary and
volcanic rocks, as follows from the age of postdeforma-
tion gabbronorite dikes dated at 2738 ± 6 Ma .
Supracrustal Complexes Formed 2.75–2.65 Ga Ago
In the Karelian Province, the rocks of this age are
known from the Voknavolok–Ilomantsi Terrane of the
Ilomantsi system of greenstone belts, where they are
well studied as hosts of gold deposits; from the Central
Karelian Terrane (Khedozero–Bolsheozero greenstone
belt), where the age of rhyolite is 2730 ± 6 Ma ; and
from the Iisalmi Terrane, where the West Puolanka
paragneiss complex is recognized. In the Belomorian
Province, the metasedimentary rocks and metabasalts
of the Suomujärvi Complex, the maximum age of
which is estimated at 2731 ± 8 Ma, belongs to this
group. However, a zircon grain dated at 3413 ± 5 Ma
was detected in quartzite . The same chronologi-
cal position is occupied by the volcanosedimentary
association with a quartzite unit in the Hisovaara struc-
tural unit of the Keret Belt , the Chelozero green-
stone complex of the Tikshozero Belt , and the
Voche-Lambina greenstone complex in the structural
unit of the same name. In the Kola Province, the Keivy
Complex (Sequence) in the Keivy schist belt has the
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
The Hattu schist belt of the Ilomantsi system con-
sists of volcanosedimentary rocks; volcanics are rare
. The sedimentary rocks are largely composed of
feldspathic graywacke that fits intermediate and felsic
volcanics in composition but is enriched in Cr, Ni, and
V. These rocks could have been a result of scouring and
redeposition of andesites and dacites (these rocks occur
in this complex) and, to a lesser extent, of basalts and
granitic rocks. Beds of polymictic conglomerate, cross-
bedded arkose sandstone, and jaspilite are known. The
sedimentary rocks contain detrital zircons dated at
2.86 Ga. The εNd (2.75 Ga) value varies from –0.6 to
+1.2, thus indicating that the clastic material was sup-
plied from the basement rocks .
The intermediate and felsic tuffs that occur at the
base of the section have an age of 2754 ± 6 Ma. The
fragments of felsic rocks from the overlying conglom-
erate are dated at 2727 ± 14 Ma, while the age of syn-
tectonic granitoids varies from 2748 ± 6 to 2724 ± 5 Ma
. The calc-alkaline basalt, andesite, and dacite are
enriched in LREE and depleted in Ta, Nb, and Ti, as is
characteristic of island-arc volcanic rocks . Basalt
and komatiite occur sporadically except in the Pampalo
basalt–komatiite association in the upper part of the
section, where the rocks of basaltic composition com-
prise lava, breccia, and tuff, while the komatiites
include tuffs and lavas with cumulative and brecciated
zones; intrusive facies are noted. Komatiites are
enriched in LREE. The low-Ti tholeiites enriched in
LREE ((La/Sm)N ~ 1.1–1.9) and tholeiitic basalts with
a flat REE pattern are recognized.
The Nurmes paragneiss complex (Fig. 2) is com-
posed of migmatized biotite gneiss with garnet–biotite
interlayers bearing graphite and sulfides . On the
basis of their chemistry, they are interpreted as parag-
neisses, which may be regarded as products of erosion
of mafic and felsic rocks that contained 67–68 wt %
SiO2 and were enriched in Cr, Ni, and V. These rocks
have some features in common with metasedimentary
rocks of the Hattu Belt and were formed probably
2720–2680 Ma ago .
The West Puolanka paragneiss complex that con-
sists of metasedimentary rocks with tuff interlayers and
basic and felsic dikes is close in age (2.70–2.73 Ma) to
the Nurmes paragneiss complex. The age of felsic igne-
ous rocks is estimated at 2721 ± 12 Ma (tuff) and
2699 ± 7 Ma (dike) . The age of detrital zircons
from metasedimentary rocks varies from 3.50 to
2.73 Ga, while the Nd model age ranges from 3.23 to
2.83 Ga .
The Voche-Lambina greenstone belt is located at
the boundary between the Belomorian and Kola provinces
and composed of the greenstone complex of the same
name that consists of four sequences divided by tectonized
contacts. The strongly foliated and mylonitized lower
sequence tectonically separates the supracrustal rocks
from the underlying granite gneiss . The
supracrustal rocks include gneiss and amphibolite with
locally retained relict structures of lava and tuff. The
rocks correspond to rhyodacite, dacite, andesite, basal-
tic andesite, and basalt in composition. The intermedi-
ate and felsic rocks of normal alkalinity dominate; sub-
alkaline varieties occur as well . Metasedimentary
rocks (arkose, graywacke, and subgraywacke together
with lenses of polymictic conglomerate, tuffaceous
conglomerate, and sedimentary conglobreccia) are
important constituents of the upper three sequences.
Granitic rocks, including microcline varieties; gneisses
(intermediate and felsic metavolcanics); metagabbro;
hornblendite; and less abundant silexites, which are
pointed out as pebbles and fragments, indicate the het-
erogenous sialic provenances. It is suggested that the
sediments were deposited in fans synchronously with
magmatic activity .
The lower chronological boundary of the greenstone
complex is determined by the age (2.81–2.76 Ga) of
tonalitic basement rocks and migmatites [35, 97] and
the upper boundary corresponds to the age of magmatic
zircon from the metamorphosed andesitic tuff (2663 ±
1 Ma) . The most probable age of the complex is
estimated at 2.7 Ga. The model Nd age of felsic
metavolcanics ( = 2.76 Ga) and tonalitic gneisses of
the basement (
other, thus indicating the absence of long-term crustal
prehistory of their sources .
The specific features of sedimentation and volcan-
ism during the formation of the Voche-Lambina green-
stone complex testify to its ensialic nature and the for-
mation related to the final episodes of the collisional
stage of the evolution of the Neoarchean Belomorian
In the North Karelian system of greenstone belts,
two complexes were formed at that time. The first, Che-
lozero Complex is localized in the Tikshozero green-
stone belt. This complex consists largely of intermedi-
ate metavolcanics, including varieties with relicts of
amygdaloidal and pillow textures, and volcanosedi-
mentary rocks; metabasalts and high-Mg basic rocks
are less abundant . The age of porphyritic basaltic
andesite is estimated at 2753 ± 13 Ma ; hence, this
complex should be referred to as the youngest genera-
tion of volcanic rocks in this greenstone system.
Another complex is recognized in the Hisovaara
structural unit, where the volcanosedimentary lithotec-
tonic association contains quartz arenites. As has been
established through dating of separate zircon grains
, the deposition of quartz arenites was limited by
chronological boundaries of 2.71 and 2.69 Ga (the
youngest age of the detrital zircons of magmatic origin
and the oldest age of metamorphic zircon, respec-
tively). This complex consists of the youngest
supracrustal rocks in the North Karelian system of
In the Keivy schist belt, the rocks of the Keivy
Sequence are regarded as highly differentiated metater-
= 2.81–2.87 Ga) are close to each
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD421
rigenous rocks (including redeposited products of
weathering) formed in a quiet sedimentary basin .
The model Nd age ( ) of the quartz–muscovite schist
from the Pestsovotundra Sequence is 2.81 Ma; the
207Pb/206Pb ages of detrital zircons cluster are ~2.75 Ga
. These data indicate that the metasedimentary
rocks are products of erosion of Meso- and Neoarchean
Like greenstone and paragneiss belts, the granitoid
complexes were formed during several stages that are
distinguished from one another in scale and conditions
of granite formation.
Currently, the Paleoarchean granitoids in the Baltic
Shield are known only in the Ranua Terrane in Finland
(Fig. 2), where the zircon age of the Siurua
trondhjemitic gneiss is estimated at 3.5 Ga and the core
of one zircon grain is dated at 3.73 Ga . The model
Nd age (tDM) is 3.48 Ga. The composition of this gneiss
is broadly comparable with the mean composition of
the Archean TTG associations. However, the Siurua
Gneiss is slightly depleted in ê2é5, markedly enriched
in LREE and Th, and characterized by more fraction-
ated REE patterns ((La/Yb)N = 151) relative to the
mean TTG composition.
Granitoids Formed 3.2–3.0 Ga Ago
Mesoarchean granitoids (3.2–3.0 Ga) are known in
three districts of the Karelian Province, where they
belong to the TTG association. In the Pomokaira Ter-
rane (Fig. 2), the age of their magmatic crystallization
is estimated at 3.11 Ga; the inherited zircons are 3.16–
3.25 Ga in age. The average εNd(t) = –3.7 indicates that
the age of the source is at least Mesoarchean . The
TTG association of the Iisalmi Terrane has an age of
3.1 Ga and εNd(t) = –1.3 . The ancient granitoids
are most widespread in the Vodlozero Terrane (Fig. 2).
The U–Pb age of zircons (SHRIMP) from the oldest
gneissic tonalite varies from 3210 ± 12 to 3151 ± 18 Ma
The rocks of the TTG association reveal low Rb, Y,
Zr, Nb, and Ba contents; negative Ti, Nb, and Ta anom-
alies; and fractionated REE distribution ((La/Yb)N =
30–50). A Eu anomaly has been detected only in
tonalite from northern Finland. The εNd(t) varies from
+1.0 to –4.3, while ranges from 3.2 to 3.5 Ga [49, 72].
Granitoids Formed 3.0–2.8 Ga Ago
The granite formation coeval with formation of
greenstone complexes of the Vedlozero–Segozero Belt
was widespread in the Vodlozero Terrane. Trondhjemite
of the Chebino pluton (2985 ± 10 Ma), tonalite from the
Lake Chernoe area (2957 ± 23 Ma), and diorite and gra-
nodiorite of the Kalya River area (2971 ± 11 and 2908 ±
12 Ma) were formed here 3.0–2.9 Ga ago . They are
characterized by positive εNd(t) ranging from 2.3 to 4.2.
The values of are ~3.0 Ga [45, 49, 91]. These
older greenstone complexes and granite gneisses are
cut through by younger TTG granitoids (Lizhma River
pluton, >2884 Ma; Shilos pluton, 2859 ± 24 Ma) .
The same rocks were found in the Kianta Terrane
(2843 ± 18 Ma) .
The oldest two-feldspar granites known in the Baltic
Shield (2876 ± 21 Ma)  are located also in the Vod-
lozero Terrane. These granites are close to the I-type
and distinguished by only slight REE fractionation
((La/Sm)N = 3.5–5.0; (Gd/Lu)N = 1.6–2.0) and a nega-
tive Eu anomaly (Eu/Eu* = 0.35–0.60). The εNd(t) varies
from –1.5 to +1.8 as a response to the heterogeneity of the
Quartz diorite and trondhjemite in the Lake Keret
area (2803 Ma ) and diorite–granodiorite of the
Hisovaara structural unit (2826 ± 18 Ma ) belong to
this group in the Belomorian Province. Tonalitic gneiss
with an age of 2.81 Ga was established at the northern
boundary of this province as pebbles of the basal con-
glomerate of the Voche-Lambina greenstone belt 
and as its basement . In the Tulppio greenstone belt
in Finland (Fig. 2), granite (2896 ± 8 Ma), tonalite
(2805 ± 4 Ma), and syenite (2.8 Ga) are known ;
tonalite and granodiorite dated at 2823–2810 Ma are
predominant in the Suomujärvi Complex .
In the Murmansk Province and the Kola–Norwegian
Terrane of the Kola Province the widespread granitoids
of this group are composed of enderbites varying from
quartz diorite to tonalite and trondhjemite in composi-
tion . Enderbites and complementary rocks are
characterized by low and normal alkalinity with the
prevalence of Na over K. The age of these granitoids is
estimated approximately at 2.83 Ga . The Sm–Nd
isotopic data show that their source was virtually
devoid of the Mesoarchean material . The oldest
tonalitic gneiss in the Kola–Norwegian Terrane
(2.93 Ga) was established in the section of the Kola
Superdeep Borehole, where the rocks of the TTG series
dated at 2.83 Ga (tDM = 2.85–2.95 Ga; εNd(t) = 0.5–2.5)
are known [12, 139]. The rocks of the TTG association
from the northwestern Kola–Norwegian Terrane have
zircon ages of 2902 ± 9, 2813 ± 6, and 2803 ± 15 Ma
. Two compositional types of TTG rocks are rec-
ognized here: (1) tonalites and trondhjemites with an
elevated Al2O3 content (17–22 wt %); elevated Sr, Rb,
Ba contents; and fractionated REE patterns ((La/Yb)N =
44–112 for tonalite and 48–62 for trondhjemite) and
(2) the same rocks with lower Al2O3 contents;
increased Fe, Ti, Mg, Mn, P, Zr, Y, Co contents and REE
total; (La/Yb)N = 7–25 in tonalite and 13–41 in
trondhjemite). Trondhjemite is characterized by a posi-
tive Eu anomaly (Eu/Eu* = 1.1–1.4). It is suggested that
this granitoid complex was formed as a result of a var-
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
ious degree of partial melting of the basic crust in a
wide range of pressure [138, 139].
Granitoids Formed 2.75–2.50 Ga Ago
Granitoids of this period occur everywhere and are
subdivided into three groups: (1) TTG rocks, diorites,
and enderbites; (2) subalkali and alkali rocks; and
(3) two-feldspar rocks.
(1) TTG rocks, diorites, and enderbites. In the
Karelian Province, this group largely comprises late
tectonic intrusions. The Tavajärvi (North Karelian)
diorite–granodiorite batholith is the largest intrusive
body and bears geochemical attributes of sanukitoids.
Its age is estimated at 2724 ± 7.8 Ma .
In the Belomorian Province, most granitoids
(largely, tonalite and trondhjemite and, less frequently,
leucogranite) were formed and underwent migmatiza-
tion 2.78–2.70 Ga ago [16, 33, 99, 100]. The hyper-
sthene diorite near the village of Pongoma (2728 ±
21 Ma)  and the settlement of Chupa (2728 ± 4 Ma)
, as well as migmatite fields and enderbite and char-
nockite intrusions of tholeiitic and calc-alkaline series
near Lake Notozero  and Lake Kovdozero ,
were formed 2.73–2.66 Ga ago. Tonalites (2744 ± 5 and
2702 ± 5 Ma) and granites (2721 ± 15 Ma)  are
known in the Tulppio Belt, while veined tonalite, gran-
ite, and diorite formed 2.68–2.64 Ga ago are located in
the northwestern portion of the province [40, 100].
Metatonalite in the Kolvitsa Belt has an age of 2708 ±
10 Ma ( = 2.82–2.83 Ga and εNd(t) = 0.1–0.7) .
In the Kola–Norwegian Terrane of the Kola Prov-
ince, the rocks under consideration are composed of
monzodiorite (2720 ± 3 Ma), quartz diorite (2679 ±
18 Ma) , and enderbite (2656 ± 14 Ma) . In the
composite Tersky–Strelna Terrane, tonalitic gneisses
are dated at 2722 ± 18 and 2692 ± 19 Ma .
The values of all granitoids in the Belomorian
and Kola Provinces fall within the range 2.93–2.72 Ga
[16, 49, 60, 99, 103, 136] and almost coincide with the
age of magma crystallization. This circumstance
implies that the source of these rocks does not contain
a material with a crustal history older than 2.9 Ga.
Trondhjemites with an age of 2717–2771 Ma have been
established in the Murmansk Province. Their source
could have contained Mesoarchean material, as follows
from the negative values of εNd(t) varying from –0.17 to
(2) Subalkaline and alkaline rocks: sanukitoids
(high-Mg granitoids), syenite, alkali granite, and
nepheline syenite. Sanukitoids in the western Karelian
Province make up a posttectonic pluton dated at
~2700 Ma, whereas in the east of the province their age
is 2740 Ma [75, 89, 91, 98, 109, 122]. The sanukitoid
intrusions are known in the Central Karelian, Vodloz-
ero, Ilomantsi– Voknavolok, and Iisalmi terranes of the
Karelian Province (Fig. 2). Their occurrence is very
probable in the Kianta Terrane [J. Halla, personal com-
munication]. Composition of multiphase intrusions,
e.g., the Panozero pluton, varies from pyroxenite–
monzogabbro to quartz monzonite. Lamprophyre dikes
are related to these plutons. Sanukitoids are distin-
guished by elevated Cr and Ni contents and high Mg #
(0.5–0.7) and are enriched in Sr, Ba, and LREE; the
REE pattern is fractionated ((La/Yb)N > 20), and a Eu
anomaly is not developed. The εNd(t) ranges from –1.3
to 2.1 (positive values are prevalent) , thus indicat-
ing a contribution of mantle matter to the initial melts.
In the Karelian Province, syenitic rocks occur largely as
posttectonic plutons, e.g., the Khizhjärvi pluton, and
vary from pyroxene monzodiorite to leucosyenite. The
Khizhjärvi pluton is coeval to the Panozero pluton, and
both are situated in the same tectonic zone. Syenites are
distinguished from sanukitoids by lesser Mg contents
and enrichment in lithophile elements.
As has been exemplified in the intrusions [75, 122],
the initial sanukitoid and syenitic melts were formed as
a result of the direct partial melting of the metasomati-
cally enriched lithospheric mantle. The mantle metaso-
matism and its subsequent melting were separated by a
time interval of 60 to 100 Ma .
Subalkali granitic plutons (2.67 Ma) and related
dikes are known in the southern Belomorian Province
[89–91]. In the Kola Province, this group likely com-
prises quartz monzonite, quartz syenite, and latite in the
southeastern Kola–Norwegian Terrane dated at 2657 ±
9 Ma  (εNd(t) = –0.8)  and the Porosozero mul-
tiphase monzodiorite–granite pluton (2733 ± 6 Ma)
 that cuts through the rocks of the Kolmozero–
Voron’ya greenstone belt.
Alkaline rocks of the Keivy Terrane are composed
of aegirine–arfvedsonite and lepidomelane–hastingsite
granites and nepheline syenite . Granites occur as
sills and dikes. The ages of alkali granite are estimated
at 2630 ± 31 and 2654 ± 5 Ma (Belye Tundry pluton)
and 2751 ± 41 Ma (Ponoi pluton) [6, 19]. Granosyenite
of the West Keivy pluton is dated at 2674 ± 6 Ma .
The Ponoi alkali granite is a high-Fe rock with low P
and Sr; extremely low Cu, Ni, V, Cr, and Co; and ele-
vated Li (up to 1000 ppm), Zr, Nb, Y, U, Th, and REE
. The εNd(t) is 0.1–2.9 (
ites are classified as anorogenic . Essexite and
nepheline syenite of the Sakharjok pluton were formed
2682–2613 Ma ago .
(3) Two-feldspar granites are ubiquitous; they are
posttectonic and referred to as I- and A-types. In the
Karelian Province, these granites are 2680–2710 Ma in
age. The εNd(t) value depends on the age of the terrane.
In plutons of the older Vodlozero Terrane, this value
ranges from –0.4 to –4.9, and in the Ilomantsi–
Voknavolok Terrane, from –0.1 to –1.2. However, in the
younger Central Karelian Terrane, values of 0.8–2.2
predominate [49, 72]. In the Kola Province, monazite
granites (2634 ± 12 Ma) are known . In the Belo-
= 2.64–2.91 Ga). Gran-
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD423
morian Province, an age of 2674 ± 4 Ma was estab-
lished for plagioclase–microcline granite that occurs
near Lake Kichany .
As a rule, all Archean complexes of the Baltic
Shield were repeatedly deformed and metamorphosed.
The main Archean structural units (Fig. 1B) are charac-
terized by specific regimes of Archean metamorphism,
which are crucial for both the geodynamic reconstruc-
tions and the tectonic demarcation.
The Karelian Province
The Paleo- and Mesoarchean metamorphic events
have been documented in the lower crustal granulite
dated at 3.5 Ga from xenolith in kimberlite of the Iis-
almi Terrane  and in amphibolite of the Vodlozero
Terrane that metamorphosed 3.2–3.1 Ga ago under con-
ditions of amphibolite to granulite facies .
The PT trends of Neoarchean metamorphism
embraces two main events irrespective of the Archean
protolith age. The first episode, commonly older than
2.75 Ga, developed autonomously in each structural
unit at a low pressure (andalusite–sillimanite type) with
variation of temperature from greenschist facies (the
South Vygozero and Sumozero–Kenozero greenstone
belts) to high-temperature amphibolite facies (the Ved-
lozero–Segozero, Kostomuksha, Kuhmo–Suomus-
salmi–Tipasjärvi belts). The second metamorphic epi-
sode (2.72–2.63 Ma) occurred at elevated pressure
(kyanite–sillimanite type) over the entire territory but
discretely, having been related to the transpressional
zones. The temperature conditions of this episode cor-
responded mainly to amphibolite facies in a wide range
of pressure from 5–7 to 10 kbar even within the same
zone . However, examples of greenschist facies
are known in the Koikary and Pedrolampi structural
units of the Vedlozero–Segozero Belt.
Most of the granulite (granulite–enderbite–charnoc-
kite) complexes of the Karelian Province (Varpaisjärvi,
Tulos, Pudasjärvi, Voknavolok, and Onega; see Fig. 2)
were formed 2.72–2.63 Ga ago [21, 36, 72, 111, 124].
They all have much in common and largely consist of
dioritic–tonalitic enderbites that contain inclusions of
metasedimentary rocks and basic, intermediate, and
less abundant felsic and ultramafic granulites. The basic
granulites of the Varpaisjärvi Complex contain zircon
with Mesoarchean ages of 3.20–3.05 Ga .
On the basis of geologic and petrologic data,
V.M. Shemyakin, V.N. Kozhevnikov, and O.I. Volod-
ichev independently arrived at a conclusion on the two-
fold granulite-facies metamorphism separated by an
amphibolite-facies episode [21, 36]. Similar conclu-
sions have been drawn from isotopic geochronological
data for the Varpaisjärvi Complex [111, 124]. The age
of 2723 ± 4 Ma for charnockite of the Tulos Complex
probably corresponds to the late episode , whose
PT conditions were 750–800°ë and 5 kbar pressure.
The occurrences of the superimposed granulite-facies
metamorphism (T = 750–800°ë; P = 6–7 kbar) are
related to the shear zones and dated at ~2681 Ma. After-
ward, granulites were affected by retrograde metamor-
phism under conditions of amphibolite facies (first at
680–700°C and P = 6.0–6.5 kbar and then at T = 600°ë
and P = 4 kbar).
The first episode of granulite-facies metamorphism
in the Karelian Province apparently accompanied the
accretion stage in the evolution of geodynamic systems,
whereas the second episode of amphibolite- and granu-
lite-facies metamorphism was related to the Neoarchean
The Belomorian Province
The multifold development of high-pressure meta-
morphism, including eclogitic, is the most characteris-
tic feature of the Belomorian Province [20, 26].
In terms of the character of Neoproterozoic meta-
morphism, the Belomorian Province is subdivided into
eastern and western domains. The P–T–t clockwise
trend that includes a prograde branch of eclogitic meta-
morphism (T = 740–865°ë; P = 14.0–17.5 kbar) and a
retrograde branch is typical of the eastern domain,
especially the Gridino Zone and the Pongoma Bay area.
The retrograde branch corresponds to the conditions of
a multistage near-isothermal decompression from 14 to
6.5 kbar and a temperature fall from 770 to 650°C
(older than 2.72 Ga ago) with a transition from eclogitic
facies to high-pressure granulite facies and further to
amphibolite facies of high and moderate pressures. The
conditions of prograde development of eclogites most
likely corresponded to the setting of “warm” subduc-
tion, while the decompression trend of retrograde meta-
morphism is related to the exhumation of eclogites.
Granulite-facies metamorphism is recorded at this
stage (T = 700–750°ë; P = 6–7 kbar) and marked by
migmatitic and intrusive enderbites as well as by
amphibolite-facies metamorphism of moderate pres-
sure that occurred about 2.72 Ga ago . At the next
stage (2691 ± 5 Ma), the rocks were metamorphosed
again in a high-pressure regime with a peak at T = 650–
700°ë and P = 12–13 kbar as an apparent response to
the transpressional stage of the collisional Belomorian
The counterclockwise trend is typical of the western
domain, e.g., near lakes Notozero and Kovdozero. The
oldest (2855 ± 5 Ma)  moderate-pressure granulite-
facies metamorphism (T > 700°ë; P = 5.5–6.5 kbar)
was established in garnet–biotite gneisses, which partly
served as a protolith for kyanite gneisses, and in basic
crystalline schists. The granulite complex of crystalline
schists, enderbites, and charnockites of calc-alkaline
and high-Fe tholeiitic series [20, 47] was formed later
on (~2.72 Ga [47, 72]). High-pressure metamorphism
of kyanite–orthoclase subfacies (T = 650–700°ë; P =
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
12–13 kbar) and intense migmatization developed fur-
ther (~2.70 Ga) [20, 26, 27]. In the northern Belomo-
rian Province (Yena segment), the PT parameters of the
first stage of Neoarchean metamorphism were 620–
680°ë and 7.6–8.8 kbar; the second stage was charac-
terized by 665–695°ë and 9.7–10.6 kbar ; i.e., as in
the central part of the province, the subsequent meta-
morphic event was distinguished by a higher pressure.
The last metamorphic event is known from all
domains and apparently related to Neoarchean collision.
2710.3 ± 8.1 Ma
0 30 km
2720 ± 8 Ma
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD425
The Archean eclogites in the Belomorian Province
are the world’s oldest crustal eclogites. They have been
found near the settlement of Gridino (White Sea)
[22, 83] and the straits of the Narrow and Wide Salma
(Lake Ekostrovsky Imandra, Kola Peninsula) [34, 94].
In the first locality, the eclogite-bearing complex
occurs as the Gridino tectonic sheet (Fig. 5A) that is
traced for ~50 km from NW to SE and reaches 10 km
in width. This complex is an intensely migmatized
melange (Fig. 5B), the leucosome of which was trans-
formed into granite gneiss of tonalitic–trondhjemitic
composition that contains enderbite relicts that indicate
an event of granulite-facies metamorphism. The alloch-
thonous mixture of the clastic component is composed
of eclogite; amphibolite, including garnet and garnet–
clinopyroxene varieties; metaultramafic and metagab-
broic rocks; zoisite metaanorthosite; aluminous and
amphibole-bearing gneisses; and marble.
The Neoarchean eclogites (Fig. 5C) consist of
omphacite (28–40 mol % jadeite end member) and gar-
net (22–30 mol % pyrope and 22–30 mol % grossular).
Their relicts are retained in the symplectitic eclogite
and garnet–clinopyroxene amphibolite that formed as a
result of retrograde decompression. Eclogite was
formed at T = 740–865°ë, P = 14.0–17.5 kbar, and a
depth of 60–65 km. The age of zircons (NORDSIM)
from eclogite and symplectitic eclogite is 2720.7 ±
8 Ma . The morphology of the zircon crystals is
typical of high-pressure granulites and eclogites;
paragenetic relations between zircon and other miner-
als of eclogite are confirmed by depletion of zircon in
HREE . The melange zone is crosscut by posttec-
tonic trondhjemite veins dated at 2701.3 ± 8.1 Ma 
and by Paleoproterozoic gabbronorite dikes.
In terms of chemical composition, eclogites fit basic
rocks (47–51 wt % SiO2, 1.38–4.3 wt % Na2O + K2O)
of the tholeiitic series (FeO*/MgO = 0.5–2.5). The REE
content is 2–12 times higher than in chondrite; the REE
pattern is flat or slightly fractionated ((La/Sm)N = 0.99–
1.80; (Ga/Yb)N = 0.77–1.17). Eclogites are correlated
with MORB, basalts from ophiolites, and metabasalts
(amphibolites) of the Central Belomorian greenstone
Eclogites are considered the most important
attributes of subduction. This mechanism explains
transportation of the crustal rocks in zones of high pres-
sure at a relatively low temperature , and precisely
this model is suggested for the Neoarchean eclogites of
the Belomorian Province [22, 83, 92]. Other mecha-
nisms of high-pressure mineral formation under crustal
conditions are discussed in the literature , and this
discussion is topical for the Belomorian Province,
where not only Neoproterozoic but also Paleoprotero-
zoic eclogites are known [20, 22]. The nature of eclog-
ites from Belomorye remains a matter of debate, and
studies in this field are currently ongoing [22, 34, 94].
The evolution of metamorphic regimes in the Belo-
morian Province reflects the change of subduction-
related processes by collision.
The Kola and Murmansk Provinces
In contrast to the Karelian Province, the mineral
assemblages of only amphibolite and granulite facies
are established in the Archean complexes of the Kola
and Murmansk provinces; assemblages of greenschist
facies are unknown. The gradual transition between
granulite and high-temperature amphibolite facies is
characteristic of the andalusite–sillimanite type of lat-
eral metamorphic zoning .
As in the case of other granulite complexes of the
Baltic Shield, the granulite complex of the Kola–Nor-
wegian Terrane (Fig. 2) consists of metasedimentary
and metaigneous rocks; the latter comprise felsic, inter-
mediate, mafic, and ultramafic granulites with a preva-
lence of enderbites [1, 64]. The maximum pressure esti-
mated for cordierite-free mineral assemblages of silli-
manite paragneisses amounts to 6.2 ± 1.2 kbar at
T = 700°ë; in the zone transitional to amphibolite
facies, this value is P = 5.2 ± 0.9 kbar. Cordierite-bear-
ing assemblages were formed at a lower pressure of
4.5 ± 0.6 kbar at 700°ë [1, 8]. Kyanite–sillimanite
assemblages from the transitional zone are character-
ized by P = 5.3 kbar and T = 580 ± 20°ë. The repeated
metamorphism in the granulite zone proceeded at P =
3.5 ± 0.5 kbar and T = 590°ë.
It is suggested that the first thermal reworking of
paragneisses in the Kola–Norwegian Terrane that pre-
dated granulite-facies metamorphism took place
2880 ± 45 Ma ago (Rb–Sr age of whole-rock samples,
ISr = 0.7005 ± 0.0004) . The age of the oldest granu-
lite-facies metamorphism is estimated at 2.83 Ga,
Fig. 5. The Neoarchean Gridino eclogite-bearing complex, after [22, 83]. Geological sketch-maps of (A) North Karelia with the
location of the eclogite-bearing complex near the settlement of Gridino, close to the White Sea, and (B) southeastern Stolbikha
Island, after A.I. Slabunov, O.S. Sibilev, and O.I. Volodichev. Legend for Panel A. (1) Paleoproterozoic; (2–7) Archean: (2) green-
stone complex, (3) paragneiss complex, (4) mafic and ultramafic rocks of the Central Belomorian greenstone belt, (5) eclogite-bear-
ing melange of the Gridino tectonic sheet, (6) granite gneisses and migmatites of the Belomorian Mobile Belt, (7) granitoids of the
Karelian Craton; (8) inferred thrust faults. Legend for Panel B. (1) Quaternary sediments, (2) pegmatite vein, (3) trondhjemite (2701 ±
8 Ma), (4) granite gneiss and orientation of gneissic banding therein, (5) eclogite and plagioclase–clinopyroxene symplectitic rock
after eclogite dated at 2721 ± 8 Ma, (6) amphibolite, (7) leucoamphibolite, (8) zoisite rock, (9) ultramafic rock, (10) orientation of
gneissic banding and schistosity. (C) Photomicrograph of eclogite from the vicinity of Gridino; the garnet–omphacite mineral
assemblage is visible: (Prp26) content of the pyrope end member in garnet; (Omp32) content of the jadeite end member in omphacite.
The secondary metamorphic mineral assemblages consist of plagioclase (Pl22 is the content of anorthite end member), diopside (Di16 is
the content of jadeite end member), and pargasitic hornblende (Prg-Hbl).
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
whereas the age of metamorphic zircon from the late
shear zones that formed also under conditions of gran-
ulite facies is 2648 ± 18 Ma . The metamorphic zir-
cons from paragneiss near Lake Pulozero mark one
more granulite-facies metamorphic event 2724 ± 49 Ma
ago and retrograde metamorphism of amphibolite
facies 2640 ± 20 Ma ago . The garnet–biotite gneiss
from the Pervomaisky area underwent granulite-facies
metamorphism 2788 ± 16 Ma ago and amphibolite-
facies metamorphism 2743 ± 18 Ma ago . The ter-
mination of the Archean structural rearrangement and
metamorphic reworking are determined from the age of
postdeformational pegmatite, 2556 ± 27 Ma .
At least three metamorphic events are recorded in
the rocks from the Kolmozero–Voron’ya greenstone
belt of the Kola–Norwegian Terrane . The first event
(2.83–2.76 Ga) proceeded under conditions of epidote–
amphibolite and low-temperature amphibolite facies of
low pressure (T = 460–560°ë; P = 2.5–4.3 kbar). The
second episode (2.76–2.68 Ga) developed at the same
temperature but at a higher pressure (T = 470–530°ë;
P = 3.9–5.8 kbar). The third event (2.68–2.52 Ga) was
related to the late shear zones and characterized by the
highest parameters: T = 530–640°ë and P = 6.0–
8.5 kbar. A certain analogy of this P–T–t path with the
evolution trend of metamorphism in the greenstone
belts of the Karelian Province that is related to accre-
tionary and collisional stages attracts attention.
The Archean metamorphism of rocks in the Keivy
Terrane generally corresponds to the staurolite–two-
mica subfacies . The rocks that experienced
regional metamorphism were markedly affected by the
Neoarchean alkali-granitic and basic magmas (the lat-
ter are responsible for andalusite metamorphism) and
by the Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic reverse and
In general, the Archean rocks of the Kola–Norwe-
gian Terrane are characterized by wide superposition of
Paleoproterozoic metamorphism that developed at
moderate and elevated pressure (kyanite–sillimanite
type). Furthermore, Paleoproterozoic metamorphism
varying from greenschist to high-pressure granulite
facies is known, e.g., in the Chudjärvi Zone, where the
Archean and Proterozoic granulites are juxtaposed .
In the Murmansk Province, the oldest metamorphic
events proceeded under conditions of granulite facies at
a temperature reaching 750°ë and at 4–6 kbar pressure
. The subsequent reworking and migmatization was
characterized by conditions of amphibolite facies.
More specific data are not available.
GEODYNAMIC SETTINGS AND MAIN STAGES
OF CRUST FORMATION
The first sialic islands arose 3.5–3.1 Ga ago (Fig. 6).
Their largest fragments are known in the Vodlozero
Terrane, while the smaller ones are known in the Iis-
almi, Ranua, and Pomokaira terranes of the Karelian
Province [72, 121, 133]. The findings of Paleoarchean
detrital zircons in metasedimentary rocks of the Kola
[62, 102, 111] and Belomorian  provinces allow us
to suggest that such fragments were greater in number.
It cannot be ruled out that they made up a common con-
tinent that broke down in the Mesoarchean .
A new stage of crust formation began 3.10–2.95 Ga
ago. Its history is recorded most fully in greenstone and
intrusive complexes of the Vodlozero Terrane. A sub-
duction-related system was formed at its western (in the
present-day coordinates) margin 3.05–3.00 Ga ago.
This system comprised an ensialic volcanic arc and a
conjugated backarc deepwater basin; indicative com-
plexes of these settings have been established in the
Vedlozero–Segozero system of greenstone belts .
Having been initiated by a mantle plume, the basalt–
komatiite complexes that made up an oceanic plateau in
the Sumozero–Kenozero greenstone belt were formed
at that time at the eastern and northeastern margins of
the Vodlozero Terrane . Afterward these com-
plexes were obducted upon the continent. The mul-
tiphase mafic intrusions and trondhjemites were
emplaced at that stage into the inner zone of the sialic
Furthermore, the subduction system marked by the
older greenstone complex of the Kuhmo–Suomus-
salmi–Tipasjärvi Belt in the Kianta Terrane was formed
during this period; the growth of continental crust is
fixed in the Ilomantsi–Voknavolok Terrane as well.
In the interval 2.95–2.82 Ga ago, the growth of the
continental crust was confined to the southeastern
Karelian Province, the adjacent territory of the Belo-
morian Province, and the Kola Province. Subduction in
the west of the Vodlozero Terrane resulted in the gener-
ation of calc-alkaline volcanics of the Vedlozero–Segoz-
ero greenstone belt. The volcanosedimentary sequences
derived from the Vodlozero microcontinent were
deposited in the forearc basin of this active margin. The
subaerial felsic volcanism in the backarc zone was
accompanied by accumulation of volcaniclastic and
terrigenous sediments . Accretion of the Vedloz-
ero–Segozero volcanic arc to the Vodlozero microcon-
tinent ended with emplacement of the oldest two-feld-
spar granites . The first island-arc systems arose at
that time in the Belomorian Province, as reflected in the
lateral series of the Keretozero, Chupa, and Central
Belomorian complexes and in the formation of the
Tulppio greenstone belt . The subduction-related
convergent boundary arose at that time in the Kola
Province; the Keivy active continental margin and the
Kolmozero–Voron’ya island-arc system were formed
as well .
The active formation of crust continued 2.82–
2.75 Ga ago in the newly formed subduction-related
systems in the Sumozero–Kenozero Belt at the margin
of the Vodlozero Terrane of the Karelian Province; in
the Olenegorsk greenstone belt of the Kola Province;
and in the system of North Karelian greenstone belts of
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
THE ARCHEAN OF THE BALTIC SHIELD427
Fig. 6. Correlation chart of Archean complexes and metamorphic events in the eastern Baltic Shield.
2.6 2.72.8 2.9 3.0 3.1 188.8.131.52.5
Mafic association Mafic-ultramafic
and boninite-bearingassociations (fragmented ophiolites)
BADR and alkaline (A)
Volcanics and dikes
of the adakite association
TTG granitoids and enderbite
GEOTECTONICS Vol. 40 No. 6 2006
SLABUNOV et al.
the Belomorian Province, where a new convergent
boundary was formed in the ensimatic setting. The Tik-
shozero island-arc system arose along this boundary.
The formation of the Iringora suprasubduction ophio-
lites was related to the early stage of evolution of this
system ; intermediate and felsic calc-alkaline and
adakitic volcanic rocks were formed at the mature stage
[15, 36]. The basalt–komatiite associations of the
Kuhmo–Suomussalmi–Tipasjärvi and Kostomuksha
belts were formed at that time in the west of the Kare-
lian Province under the influence of the mantle plume.
These associations may be interpreted either as prod-
ucts of intracontinental rifting [44, 49, 123] or as an
oceanic plateau [37, 129]. The rocks of the Matkalahti
greenstone belt were probably formed at the same time
as a result of continental rifting in the Vodlozero micro-
continent . The continental crust of the Kianta and
Central Karelian terranes of the Karelian and Kola prov-
inces, respectively, and of the Murmansk Province was
formed contemporaneously. Thus, most Archean sialic
crust of the Baltic Shield had been formed by 2.75 Ga ago.
Geologic processes related to the stage of 2.75–
2.65 Ga developed throughout the Baltic Shield as
active magmatism, including dikes and large intrusions
of gabbronorite and gabbro  that immediately pre-
dated the last episode of the Archean granulite-facies
metamorphism, sanukitoids and syenites, tonalites and
granites, alkali granites, nepheline syenites, and car-
bonatites. This magmatic activity demonstrates that the
melts formed synchronously in both depleted and
enriched lithospheric mantle and at various depths
within the continental crust and may testify to the activ-
ity of mantle plumes . Some authors [20, 26, 83]
regard the stage of 2.70–2.65 Ga as collisional. It is
suggested that the collision was the most spectacular in
the Belomorian Province, which was a core of the
growing orogen. The granitoid complexes (sanukitoids)
2.73–2.70 Ga in age were emplaced in the zone transi-
tional to the Karelian Province [98, 122]; the basins
filled with intermediate and felsic volcanics and sedi-
mentary rocks arose in the central part of the province.
Their fragments are retained in the Ilomantsi, Khedoz-
ero–Bolsheozero, and Gimoly belts [75, 133]. Accre-
tion and collision at the boundaries of terranes in the
Karelian Province probably led to the formation of the
Varpaisjärvi, Tulos, Voknavolok, and Onega local gran-
ulite zones. The granulite complexes of the Belomorian
Province, e.g., Notozero, were formed simultaneously,
and the Gridino and Salmi eclogites began to be
exhumed. The collapse of orogen started just after its
formation, as follows from the deposition of volcanic
and coarse clastic complexes (Voche-Lambina struc-
tural unit) and the emplacement of gabbroids (Fig. 2).
The distinct heterogeneity of the Archean crust in
the Kola Province [4, 58] has attracted attention. The
juxtaposition of the extremely distinct Kola–Norwe-
gian and Keivy terranes and their principal difference
from the Murmansk and Belomorian provinces allow
us to classify these terranes as exotic and the Kola Prov-
ince itself as a Neoarchean collage of terranes.
Thus, the generation of the Archean continental
crust of the Baltic Shield was related largely to subduc-
tion of lithospheric plates [32, 36, 55, 75, 83, 99, 105]
together with an appreciable contribution of mantle
plumes [3, 25, 72, 89, 92, 127, 128]. The eventual for-
mation of the Archean continental domain was a result
of collision [26, 36, 83].
The following main conclusions may be drawn from
the performed study:
(1) The Archean greenstone (schist) and paragneiss
complexes of the Baltic Shield are composed of differ-
ent lithotectonic associations, which were formed in
various geodynamic settings related to subduction
(ensialic and ensimatic), spreading, continental rifting,
mantle plumes, and collision. A wide range of Archean
granitoids and metamorphic regimes is consistent with
this diversity of geodynamic settings.
(2) The Archean core of the shield was formed 3.1–
2.5 Ga ago in the process of accretionary and subduc-
tion-related events (no less than four episodes) and col-
lisional events (no less than two episodes) against the
background of continuous and intense mantle-plume
activity. The general sequence and direction of events dur-
ing the formation of the continental crust have much in
common with the evolution of Phanerozoic orogenic belts.
We thank V.N. Kozhevnikov for providing us access
to his paper that was being prepared for publication and
the reviewers for their critical comments and helpful
recommendations. This study was carried out under the
SVEKALAPKO Project of the EUROPROBE Program
1996–2002. At the final stage, this investigation was
supported by the Academy of Finland; the Geological
Survey of Finland; the Russian Foundation for Basic
Research (project nos. 03-05-64010, 03-05-65051,
06-05-64876, and 06-05-65237); and program nos. 6
and 8 of the Division of Earth Sciences, Russian Acad-
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