Narsajuaq Complex
Stratigraphic label: [ppro]naq
Map symbol: pPnaq

First published: 31 May 2018
Last modified: 23 October 2020






































Translation of original French




Informal subdivision(s)
Numbering does not necessarily reflect the stratigraphic position.
pPnaq6 Monzogranite
pPnaq5 Syenogranite
pPnaq4 Monzogranite or syenogranite and clinopyroxene monzodiorite
pPnaq3 Tonalite or granodiorite and monzogranite veins
pPnaq2 Quartz diorite
pPnaq1 Gneiss with tonalite and quartz diorite, granodiorite and monzogranite veins
Author: Lucas and St-Onge, 1991
Age: Paleoproterozoic
Stratotype: None
Type area: Northern part of the Ungava Peninsula
Geological province: Churchill Province
Geological subdivision: Ungava Orogen / Narsajuaq Lithotectonic Domain
Lithology: Plutonic and metasedimentary rocks
Category: Lithodemic
Rank: Complex
Status: Formal
Use: Active




The Narsajuaq Complex was introduced by Charette and Beaudette (2018) to designate geological units mapped during previous work. These units were previously included in the Narsajuaq Arc, which was defined as a cartographic unit in the synthesis of the Ungava Orogen (Lamothe, 2007). However, Charette and Beaudette (2018) have abandoned this definition of the Narsajuaq Arc, considering it more of a lithotectonic domain. The “Narsajuaq Complex” stratigraphic unit was therefore introduced to comply with the North American Stratigraphic Code (2005).

In areas mapped at scale 1:100 000 by the Ministère since 2017, lithologies located in the western part of the Narsajuaq Lithotectonic Domain were instead divided into complexes and suites, the main ones being the PingasualuitTasialuk Allipaaq, Sainte-Hélène and Estre complexes, as well as the Suluraaq, Nallujaq, Navvaataaq and Sanningajualuk suites. Further geological mapping will help define the various units belonging to the Narsajuaq Complex and assign them to separate suites; the Narsajuaq Complex will eventually disappear.



The Narsajuaq Complex consists essentially of three intrusive suites that account for more than 90% of the Narsajuaq Lithotectonic Domain. These three suites consist of: 1) an older plutonic suite (1863-1844 Ma, St-Onge et al., 1992) composed of tonalite gneiss, granodiorite and quartz diorite (pPnaq1); 2) a younger intrusive suite (1836-1821 Ma, St-Onge et al., 1992; Parrish, 1989) composed of quartz diorite (pPnaq2), tonalite and granodiorite (pPnaq3) and monzogranite or syenogranite (pPnaq4); and 3) a late anatectic suite (1803-1800 Ma; Dunphy et al., 1995; Parrish, 1989) composed of syenogranite (pPnaq5) and monzogranite (pPnaq6). With the exception of the late suite with relatively undeformed units, intrusive rocks of the Narsajuaq Complex are generally gneissic or foliated.

1) Older Plutonic Suite: 

The main lithology of the older suite, and of the Narsajuaq Complex as a whole, is a well-banded sequence of tonalite and quartz diorite in which conformable and unconformable granitic veins are found (St-Onge et al., 1992). Units in the older suite have a very homogeneous composition and texture over a length of >250 km. A penetrative tectonic foliation at the granulite facies, parallel to compositional banding at the outcrop scale, characterizes most plutonic rocks of the Narsajuaq Complex (Lucas and St-Onge, 1995).


Narsajuaq Complex 1 (pPnaq1): Gneiss with Tonalite and Quartz Diorite, Granodiorite and Monzogranite Veins

The older plutonic suite consists of unit pPnaq1 gneiss, an assemblage of banded rocks (tonalite and quartz diorite) cut by felsic veins of mostly monzogranitic composition. Gneiss consists of 70-80% biotite ± hornblende tonalite. Locally, there is a dominance of hornblende ± biotite quartz diorite. Bands are decametre to centimetre thick. Diorite layers are usually boudinaged and surrounded by tonalite. Decimetric to metric layers of biotite granodiorite, amphibolite, pyroxenite and peridotite are observed in places. Mafic-ultramafic rocks are in places found as enclaves (St-Onge et al., 1992; Lucas and St-Onge, 1997).

2) Younger Plutonic Suite: 

The younger plutonic suite cuts the older plutonic suite as well as metasedimentary rocks of the Sugluk Group. Unlike the older plutonic suite, they consist of isolated kilometric plutons, usually tabular and occurring as sheets. This younger suite contains 50% monzogranite, 35% mafic plutons (quartz diorite and monzodiorite) and 15% tonalite. Plutons in the younger suite show varying degrees of deformation from massive to very foliated. In addition, plutons are composed of various enclaves from the older suite, the Sugluk Group, deep crust lithologies and comagmatic rocks (pyroxenite, diorite, tonalite). Based on the size and degree of homogeneity of the intrusions of the younger plutonic suite, it is believed to have developed in shallow levels of the crust (Lucas and St-Onge, 1997).


Narsajuaq Complex 2 (pPnaq2): Quartz Diorite

Diorite intrusions are primarily located in the southern part of the Narsajuaq Domain, near the tectonic contact with the Cape Smith Belt. The degree of deformation varies from massive to highly deformed, depending on the proximity of collision faults (Lucas and St-Onge, 1997). Quartz diorite intrusions contain pyroxenite, diorite and tonalite enclaves (St-Onge et al., 1992).


Narsajuaq Complex 3 (pPnaq3): Tonalite or Granodiorite and Monzogranite Veins

Kilometric hornblende-biotite tonalite plutons have intruded in the northern Narsajuaq Domain, north of Sugluk Inlet and on Charles Island. These plutons are tabular, foliated and parallel to banding of the older suite tonalite and quartz diorite. Tonalite is usually medium grained, even grained and contain abundant centimetric to metric enclaves of various composition (Sugluk Group, older suite gneiss, pyroxenite, amphibolite and anorthosite). Biotite monzogranite veins, oriented parallel to or intersecting foliation, cut tonalitic masses (Lucas and St-Onge, 1997).


Narsajuaq Complex 4 (pPnaq4): Monzogranite or Syenogranite and Clinopyroxene Monzodiorite

Monzogranite intrusions alternate with gneiss of the older suite (pPnaq1) and tonalite of the younger suite (pPnaq3). Monzogranite is composed of hornblende, biotite and clinopyroxene, even grained and medium grained. The texture can be megacrystalline towards the centre of intrusions with an abundance of K-feldspar phenocrystals. Monzodioritic intrusions have smaller dimensions (~2 km) along the Narsajuaq Valley, in the southern part of Sugluk Inlet (Lucas and St-Onge, 1997).

3) Late Plutonic Suite: 

Plutonic rocks in this suite consist of small granitic plutons and late-tectonic to post-tectonic, even-grained to pegmatitic veins or dykes. This suite is generally not deformed and not metamorphosed (Lucas and St-Onge, 1997).


Narsajuaq Complex 5 (pPnaq5): Syenogranite

The late suite consists of pegmatitic muscovite ± garnet syenogranite. Syenogranite occurs as undeformed dykes and sills that cut surrounding rocks. The dykes show a conjugate series steeply dipping and oriented NE to NW (St-Onge et al., 1992). A dyke from the Sugluk Inlet area cutting a tonalite of the younger plutonic suite was dated 1758 ±1 Ma (Parrish, 1989).


Narsajuaq Complex 6 (pPnaq6): Monzogranite

In the late suite, one of the monzogranite plutons in the Duquet Lake area, ~2.5 km in diameter, is egg-shaped, undeformed and non-metamorphosed. The pluton zircon U-Pb dating indicates a crystallization age of 1742.2 ±1.3 Ma (Dunphy et al., 1995). It is potassium-rich, hyperaluminous and has geochemical characteristics similar to continental crust-derived granites (Lucas and St-Onge, 1997).


Thickness and Distribution

The Narsajuaq Complex is located in the northern part of the Ungava Orogen, north of the Sugluk Shear Zone.



Dunphy and Ludden (1998) summarize the ages for each group as follows: 1) the older plutonic suite between 1863 and 1844 Ma, 2) the younger plutonic suite between 1836 and1821 Ma, and 3) the late plutonic suite between 1803 and1800 Ma.

Suite Isotopic System Mineral Age (Ma) (+) (-) Reference(s)
Older plutonic suite (Gneissic suite) U-Pb Zircon 1863 2 2 St-Onge et al., 1992
U-Pb Zircon 1861 2 2 St-Onge et al., 1992
U-Pb Zircon 1848 5 5 Parrish, personal communication with Dunphy and Ludden, 1994
U-Pb Zircon 1845 2 2 Parrish, personal communication with Dunphy and Ludden, 1994
U-Pb Zircon 1844 13 10 St-Onge et al., 1992
Younger plutonic suite U-Pb Zircon 1836 0.5 0.5 St-Onge et al., 1992
U-Pb Zircon 1835 1 1 St-Onge et al., 1992
U-Pb Zircon 1835 1 1 Parrish, 1989
U-Pb Zircon 1834 0.6 0.6 St-Onge et al., 1992
U-Pb Zircon 1830 2 2 Parrish, 1989
U-Pb Zircon 1826 1 1 St-Onge et al., 1992
U-Pb Zircon 1825 3 3 Parrish, 1989
U-Pb Zircon 1821 1 1 Parrish, personal communication with Dunphy and Ludden, 1994
Late plutonic suite (Anatectic suite) U-Pb Zircon 1803 3 3 Parrish, personal communication with Dunphy and Ludden, 1994
U-Pb Zircon 1800 2 2 Parrish, personal communication with Dunphy and Ludden, 1994


Stratigraphic Relationship(s)

Units of the Narsajuaq Lithotectonic Domain overthrust units of the Kovik Lithotectonic Domain, to the south. These two domains are separated by the Sugluk Shear Zone. St-Onge et al. (1992) and Dunphy and Ludden (1998) suggest a correlation between the older and younger plutonic suites of the Narsajuaq Complex and the intrusions of the Cape Smith Supersuite of the Northern Domain. Intrusion ages are grouped in two distinct periods contemporary to Narsajuaq suites. Geochemical characteristics and similarity in age of Parent Group volcanic rockss and Narsajuaq Complex plutonic rocks suggest that the Parent Group could represent a volcanic equivalent of the Narsajuaq magmatic arc, but with less crustal contamination (Picard et al., 1990; St-Onge et al., 1992; Dunphy et al., 1995; Dunphy and Ludden, 1998).


Does not apply.


Publications Available Through SIGÉOM Examine

CHARETTE, B., BEAUDETTE, M. 2018. Geology of the Cape Wolstenholme Area, Ungava Orogen, Churchill Province, Southeast Ivujivik, Quebec, Canada. MERN. BG 2018-03, 2 plans.



Other Publications

DUNPHY, J.M., LUDDEN, J.N., PARRISH, R.R. 1995. Stitching together the Ungava Orogen, northern Quebec: geochronological (TIMS and ICP-MS) and geochemical constraints on late magmatic events. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences; volume 32, pages 2115-2127.

DUNPHY, J.M., LUDDEN, J.N. 1998. Petrological and geochemical characteristics of a Paleoprotérozoic magmatic arc (Narsajuaq terrane, Ungava Orogen, Canada) and comparisons to Superior Province granitoids. Precambrian Research; volume 91, pages 109-142.

LUCAS, S.B. 1989. Structural Evolution of the Cape Smith Thrust Belt and role of out-of-sequence faulting in the thickening of mountains belts. Tectonics; volume 8, pages 655.

LUCAS, S.B., ST-ONGE, M.R. 1991. Evolution of Archean and early Proterozoic magmatic arcs in northeastern Ungava Peninsula, Quebec. Commission Géologique du Canada; papier 91-1C, pages 109-119.

LUCAS, S.B., ST-ONGE, M.R. 1992. Terrane accretion in the internal zone of the Ungava Orogen, northern Quebec. Part 2: Structural and metamorphic history. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences; volume 29, pages 765-782.

LUCAS, S.B., ST-ONGE, M.R. 1995. Syn-tectonic magmatism and the development of compositional layering, Ungava Orogen (northen Quebec, Canada). Journal of Structural Geology; volume 17, pages 475-491.

LUCAS, S.B., ST-ONGE, M.R. 1997. Géologie, Montagne Pinguk, Québec – Territoire du Nord-Ouest; Commission géologique du Canada, carte 1912A, échelle 1/100 000.

NORTH AMERICAN COMMISSION OF STRATIGRAPHIC NOMENCLATURE (NACSN). 2005. North American Stratigraphic Code. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, volume 89, pages 1547-1591.

PARRISH. R.R. 1989. U-Pb geochronology of the Cape Smith Belt and Sugluk block, northern Quebec. Geoscience Canada; volume 16, pages 126-130.

PICARD, C., LAMOTHE, D., PIBOULE, M., OLIVIER, R.R. 1990. Magmatic and geotectonic evolution of a Proterozoic oceanic basin system: the Cape Smith Thrust-Fold Belt (New Quebec). Precambrian Research; volume 47, pages 223-249.

ST-ONGE, M.R., LUCAS, S.B., PARRISH, R.R. 1992. Terrane accretion in the internal zone of the Ungava Orogen, northern Quebec. Part 1: tectonostratigraphic assemblages and their tectonic implications. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences; volume 29, pages 746-764.

ST-ONGE, M.R., SCOTT, D.J., WODICKA, N. 2001. Terrane boundaries within Trans-Hudson Orogen (Quebec-Baffin segment), Canada: changing structural and metamorphic character from foreland to hinterland. Precambrian Research; volume 107, pages 75-91.


Suggested Citation

Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN). Narsajuaq Complex. Quebec Stratigraphic Lexicon. [accessed on Day Month Year].



First Publication

Benoit Charette, P. Geo., M.Sc.; Mélanie Beaudette, GIT, B.Sc. (redaction)

Mehdi A. Guemache, P. Geo., Ph.D. (coordination); Pierre Lacoste, P. Géo, M.Sc. (critical review); Simon Auclair, P. Geo., M.Sc. (editing); Yan Carette (HTML editing); Céline Dupuis, P. Geo., Ph.D. (English version).

8 novembre 2018