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Investigations of lithospheric foundering and related magmatism have long focused on the central Andes, where there are postulated links between the eruption of mantle-derived lavas and periodic loss of the lower lithosphere. Whole-rock elemental and Nd-Sr-Pb isotopic results from a suite of late Miocene–Quaternary mafic lavas erupted onto the Puna Plateau clarify the relationship between this hypothesized process and lava composition. Zinc and Fe provide a critical perspective because they are partitioned differently during the melting of asthenospheric and lithospheric mantle. All Puna lavas have Zn/FeT (×104) values >13, which requires clinopyroxene and perhaps garnet to be...

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