Abstract

A remarkable suite of Miocene high-silica trondhjemites discovered in the central Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt indicates that slab melts can ascend through the mantle and crust while suffering only minor compositional modifications. Despite carrying an assortment of deep crustal xenoliths, the trondhjemites preserve the most depleted isotopic compositions ever measured in the Mexican arc, with values that are nearly identical to those of the Pacific mid-oceanic-ridge basalts. These rocks also have high Sr/Y ratios, and extremely fractionated heavy rare earth element patterns at relatively high Mg number (Mg#), features that are all consistent with melts from the subducted oceanic crust that had only limited interaction with mantle peridotite during ascent. Nonetheless, modeling results indicate that these unusual geochemical features can be modified by more extensive mantle assimilation, resulting in compositions that could match those of more typical intermediate rocks from Mexico. The data thus indicate that the slab melt component uniquely recorded by the Miocene trondhjemites represents a likely constituent for most volcanic sequences of the Mexican arc, and suggest that a modern andesitic continental crust can be constructed directly from mantle-modified slab melts without a basaltic precursor.

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