The Cascade arc has produced a remarkable diversity of volcanic rocks over the Quaternary period. The major stratovolcanoes that define the arc front are dominated by eruptions of andesitic and dacitic intermediate magmas, produced largely by fractionation, melting, assimilation, and mixing within the crust. In addition, relative to many other subduction zones, the arc has produced significant mafic volcanism. These more primitive magmas reveal complexity in mantle wedge dynamics, sources, and magma production processes, and suggest that there are significant differences along the arc in the amount of magma that enters the lower Cascade crust from the underlying mantle.

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