Incremental pluton growth can produce sheeted complexes with no magma-magma interaction or large, dynamic magma bodies communicating via crystal and melt exchanges, depending on pulse size and frequency of intrusions. Determining the degree and spatial extent of crystal-melt exchange along and away from plutonic contacts at or near the emplacement level, such as in the large, long-lived Tuolumne intrusive complex (TIC) in California, sheds light onto the process and evolution of incremental growth.

This study used field mapping and petrographic and geochemical analysis of plagioclase and K-feldspar populations in the equigranular Half Dome (eHD), porphyritic Half Dome (pHD), and Cathedral Peak (CP) Granodiorites of the southeastern section of the TIC to determine the presence and/or extent of feldspar recycling at interunit contacts. Our results suggest that contacts between major units are predominantly ~400-m- to 3-km-thick gradational zones. K-feldspar is compositionally distinct in eHD and neighboring gradational zones and shows no evidence of mixing. K-feldspar in a gradational zone between pHD and CP shows evidence of mixing between the two. Plagioclase in eHD and CP display distinct ranges of anorthite content, Sr, and light rare earth element abundances; both populations are observed in pHD. Major oxide and trace element calculations of melts in equilibrium with plagioclase cores indicate that the melts were more silicic, less calcic, and lower in Sr and Rb than corresponding analyzed whole-rock samples. These results suggest that the magmas also underwent plagioclase and biotite accumulation. The presence of two plagioclase populations in pHD is consistent with eHD and CP hybridizing to form pHD in an increasingly maturing and exchanging TIC magmatic system during the eHD-pHD-CP stages but before groundmass and small K-feldspar phenocrysts crystallized.

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