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Cretaceous and Cainozoic granites and rhyolites in the northwestern U.S.A. provide a record of silicic magmatism related to diverse tectonic settings and large-scale variations in crustal structure. The Late Cretaceous Idaho Batholith is a tonalitic to granitic Cordilleran batholith that was produced during plate convergence. Rocks of the batholith tend to be sodic (Na2O>K2O), with fractionated HREE, negligible Eu anomalies, and high Sr contents, suggesting their generation from relatively mafic sources at a depth sufficient to stabilise garnet. In contrast, Neogene rhyolites of the Snake River Plain, which erupted in an extensional environment, are potassic (K2O>Na2O), with unfractionated HREE patterns, negative Eu anomalies, and low Sr contents, suggesting a shallower, more feldspathic source with abundant plagioclase. Eocene age volcanic and plutonic rocks have compositions transitional between those of the Cretaceous batholith and the Neogene rhyolites. These data are consistent with a progressively shallowing locus of silicic magma generation as the tectonic regime changed from convergence to extension.

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