The ∼1.08-Ga Pikes Peak composite batholith of central Colorado is a type example of an A-type granitic system. From the 1970s through the 1990s, details of the field relations, mineralogy, major and trace element compositions, and isotopic geochemistry of Pikes Peak rocks were documented, and they reveal the existence of two chemical groups, a potassic and a sodic series. The potassic series (∼64–78 wt % SiO2) includes the Pikes Peak Granite, which is mostly coarse-grained biotite ± hornblende syenogranite and minor monzogranite that dominates the batholith. The potassic series also includes fine- to medium-grained biotite granite found in numerous, small, late-stage plutons throughout the batholith. The sodic series is found in seven plutons comprised of a wide range of rock types (∼44–78 wt % SiO2), including gabbro, diabase, syenite/quartz syenite, and fayalite and sodic amphibole granite.
Differences in petrologic and geochemical characteristics between the sodic and potassic series indicate different petrogenetic histories. Major and trace element and strontium and oxygen isotopic data were used by some workers to hypothesize that mantle-derived alkali basalt underwent crystal fractionation and reaction with lower crustal rocks to generate syenitic magmas of the sodic series, which subsequently underwent further fractionation to produce sodic granites. Recent studies involving estimates of oxygen fugacities, along with additional trace element and neodymium isotopic data, also support a basalt fractionation model for the sodic series, but suggest only minor crustal involvement. Gabbros and diabase dikes associated with the sodic series appear to have been derived from mantle sources that previously had been affected by a subduction event, based on neodymium isotopic and trace element data.
Some workers propose that the potassic series also formed by fractionation of syenitic and/or basaltic magmas coupled with reaction with intermediate rather than lower crust. Other workers propose a model in which genesis of the potassic series was dominated by partial melting involving tonalitic sources, with fractionation and perhaps magma mixing playing subordinate roles in generating compositional diversity among the potassic granitoids. The Pikes Peak batholith thus formed by emplacement of at least two petrogenetically different granite types, which were emplaced close together in space and time and which exhibit geochemical characteristics typical of A-type granites.