Tungsten isotope composition of the Acasta Gneiss Complex

Matthias Willbold*, S. J. Mojzsis, Hart Chen, Tim Elliott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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High-precision tungsten (182W/184W) isotope measurements on well-characterised mafic and felsic samples of the ca. 3960 Ma Acasta Gneiss Complex (AGC; Northwest Territories, Canada) show radiogenic ε182W values between +0.06 to +0.15. Two ca. 3600 Ma felsic samples from this terrane have ε182W ∼ 0 and are the oldest samples so far documented to have a W isotopic composition indistinguishable from that of the modern mantle. The ε182W data are correlated with ε142Nd (Roth et al., 2014) and we attribute this variability to incomplete metamorphic homogenisation of the 3960 Ma protolith with more recent material in a 3370 Ma tectono-thermal event. Notably, the value of the positive ε182W anomalies seen in the 3960 Ma AGC samples that are least affected by metamorphic homogenisation is comparable to that observed in other early Archean rocks (Isua Supracrustal Belt, Greenland; Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt, Canada) and the late Archean Kostomuksha komatiites (Karelia). This demonstrates a globally constant signature. We infer that the presence of a pre-late veneer mantle represents the most straightforward interpretation of a uniform distribution of εW182∼+0.15 value in Archean rocks of different ages. We show that such a notion is compatible with independent constraints from highly siderophile element abundances in mafic and ultra-mafic Archean mantle-derived rocks. The absence of anomalous ε182W and ε142Nd so far measured in samples younger than ca. 2800 Ma suggests progressive convective homogenisation of silicate reservoirs. The downward mixing of an upper mantle rich in late-delivered meteoritic material might account for these combined observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 23/02/2015


  • Acasta Gneiss Complex
  • Archean
  • crust
  • late veneer
  • mantle
  • Tungsten isotopes


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