Abstract

We report, for the first time, high-precision Pb isotope data from a high-silica rhyolite. Prior work on Sr isotopes in the 1.6 Ma Otowi Member of the Bandelier Tuff (Valles caldera, New Mexico) established that large 87Sr/86Sr variations exist among Otowi glasses and sanidine phenocrysts. While the glasses display unequivocal evidence for wall-rock contamination of the Otowi magma following sanidine growth, a positive correlation between 87Sr/86Sri and 87Rb/86Sr among the feldspars could be interpreted as either a mixing line or an in situ magmatic isochron dating a differentiation event ∼270 k.y. prior to eruption. The 206Pb/204Pb and 87Sr/86Sr ranges for Otowi sanidines are 17.790 ± 0.002 to 17.831 ± 0.002 and 0.7074–0.7052, respectively. This Pb isotope range cannot be produced by radiogenic ingrowth at the U/Pb ratios of the host magma on any geologically reasonable time scale, and hence is unequivocal evidence for open-system behavior of the Otowi magma prior to and/or concurrent with feldspar growth. Open-system behavior is predicted to control Sr isotope variations due to much higher concentrations of Sr, relative to Pb, in the country rock than in the magma. These observations therefore undermine any age significance of the Rb-Sr isotope variations. In the absence of supporting data, Rb-Sr relations alone do not impart any information about residence times of high-silica rhyolite magmas with subchondritic concentrations of Sr.

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