The Topsails igneous terrane of western Newfoundland contains several intrusive and volcanic suites underlain and separated by screens of older intrusive rocks. The heterogeneous Hungry Mountain complex yielded U-Pb zircon upper and lower intercept ages of 2090 ± 75 Ma and 467 ± 8 Ma, demonstrating a significant inherited component of Aphebian age, while an adjacent suite of relatively massive granodioritic to granitic rocks yielded a slightly discordant U-Pb zircon age of 460 ± 10 Ma. The 438 ± 8 Ma age of the Rainy Lake complex, a suite of island arc type intrusive rocks, suggests it forms part of a Silurian magmatic episode, which also included Springdale Group bimodal volcanics (429 ± 4 Ma), and peralkaline granite and subvolcanic porphyries which intrude the Springdale Group (429 ± 3 Ma and 427 ±3 Ma, respectively). Most igneous units contain a slight component of inherited zircon, but initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios (average 0·704) are similar to calculated ‘Bulk Earth’ values at this time.
Available data suggest that the Topsails terrane formed an oceanic tract with active volcanic island arcs when obduction commenced in early Ordovician time. The subsequent magmatic history, including the major but short-lived early Silurian magmatism, can be directly or indirectly related to obduction processes, including over-riding of the Topsails terrane by ophiolitic allochthons. There is no evidence of any Acadian (Devonian) igneous activity in the Topsails terrane.