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Rhyolites as probes of the crust: examples from Tertiary volcanism in Arizona, southwestern U.S.A.

By
Sonia Esperança
Sonia Esperança
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Thomas C. Moyer
Thomas C. Moyer
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Published:
January 01, 1992

Geochemical and isotopic data obtained from three bimodal basalt-rhyolite fields in west-central Arizona point to significant variation in the sources of the siliceous products despite petrological similarities between them. The studied fields, which straddle the boundary between the Basin and Range and Colorado Plateau physiographic provinces, include Castaneda Hills (CH) in the Basin and Range, Kaiser Spring (KS) in the Transition Zone, and Mount Floyd (MF) in the Colorado Plateau. Two types of rhyolite (high-silica [HSR] and low-silica [LSR]) occur as lavas in the KS and MF fields, whereas all analysed CH samples are HSR. These lavas generally post-date low-angle extension of the Basin and Range crust and become generally younger towards the Colorado Plateau. Our isotopic data illustrate that the CH rhyolites require a source with comparatively radiogenic Sr, that most rhyolites require a source with comparatively unradiogenic 206Pb/204Pb, and that the MF–HSR require a source with comparatively radiogenic Nd and 206Pb/204Pb. The isotopic data clearly indicate that the western Arizona rhyolites contain a large crustal component. Importantly, the Pb isotopic compositions of the rhyolites illustrate the transition between two crustal provinces identified by other workers on the basis of Nd and Pb isotopic studies of Proterozoic granites. The Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopic compositions of our rhyolites can be modelled by mixing a basaltic component with three hypothetical crustal end-members which themselves may be formed by mixing two crustal components. One crustal component, which is characterised by unradiogenic Pb and Sr, may be similar to the mafic gneiss xenoliths of Tule Tank on the Colorado Plateau. The second crustal component, which has more radiogenic Sr and Pb, may be similar to the Proterozoic Fenner Gneiss of southeastern California. This conceptual model indicates an apparent increase in the contribution of the depleted Tule Tank source from the Basin and Range onto the Colorado Plateau and accommodates the notion that there is an underlying consistency to the petrogeneses of the western Arizona rhyolites as suggested by their chemistry and mineralogy. Although the CH and KS lavas require only one crustal end-member, the MF–HSR and LSR require two isotopically distinct sources. This difference may be attributed to the homogenisation of diverse crustal lithologies by ductile stretching during crustal extension.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

The Second Hutton Symposium on the Origin of Granites and Related Rocks

P. E. Brown
P. E. Brown
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B. W. Chappell
B. W. Chappell
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Geological Society of America
Volume
272
ISBN print:
9780813722726
Publication date:
January 01, 1992

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