Abstract

Cordilleran granitic batholiths (sensu lato) preserve information about time scales and processes of upper crustal magmatic arc construction during Mesozoic subduction and mountain building. The Bald Mountain batholith in northeastern Oregon (USA) is a classic example of a composite, incrementally constructed batholith that formed during terrane amalgamation outboard of the western U.S. Cordillera. Whole-rock geochemistry and zircon trace element, U-Pb, Lu-Hf, and O isotopic data reveal that batholith construction occurred over ∼15 Ma, commencing with the syncollisional emplacement of small, low-Sr/Y (<40) norite-granite plutons from 157 to 155 Ma. The next phase of magmatism was postcollisional and dominated by high-Sr/Y (>40) tonalite-granodiorite magmatism that produced the main mass of the batholith, including the granodiorite of Anthony Lake (147 Ma) and the tonalite of Bald Mountain (145–141 Ma). Zircons from the norite-granite suite display a narrow range in initial εHf of 7.2–7.7 and elevated δ18O (Zrn) ranging from 8.2‰ to 10.0‰ (excluding one outlier). Zircons from the later granodiorite-tonalite suite show a similar range of initial εHf values (6.3–8.9) and δ18O (7.1‰–10.0‰), indicating a similar history of interaction with evolved crustal material. Modeling of whole-rock and zircon geochemistry indicates that both the low- and high-Sr/Y magmas composing the main phase of the batholith were generated by dehydration–partial melting of mafic arc crust (e.g., amphibolite), leaving behind a plagioclase-poor restite, which was garnet granulite in the case of the high-Sr/Y magmas. Final magma compositions in both suites were affected by assimilation of supracrustal material either at depth or during ascent. We suggest that high-Sr/Y magmas in the Bald Mountain batholith were generated by partial melting of thickened arc crust ∼10 m.y. after arc-arc collision began at 159–154 Ma. Heat to drive lower crustal melting was conveyed by an increase in mantle power input as a result of renewed subduction-related magmatism. Mixing and homogenization in the lower crust involving mantle-derived basalts and crustally derived partial melts can account for the geochemical variation we observe in tonalites and granodiorites in the Bald Mountain batholith.

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