Nd-Sr isotope composition of lower crustal xenoliths - Evidence for the origin of mid-tertiary felsic volcanics in Mexico

Joaquin Ruiz, P. Jonathan Patchett, Richard J. Arculus

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105 Scopus citations


Isotopic data were collected on lower crustal xenoliths to constrain the Mexican lower crust as source material for the mid-Tertiary Sierra Madre Occidental, which is one of the largest silicic volcanic piles known. The xenoliths are predominantly pelitic gneisses and mafic orthogneisses that were brought to the surface on the eastern edge of the Sierra Madre Occidental by recent alkalic basalts. The pelitic gneisses are uniform in mineral assemblage and contain garnet+quartz+plagioclase+sanidine+rutile +sillimanite/kyanite+graphite. The orthogneisses are plagioclase, garnet and/or spinel bearing two pyroxene granulites. Available geothermometric and geobarometric data show that the xenoliths equilibrated at temperatures and pressures consistent with those of the mantle/crust boundary in those areas. The xenoliths range from 46.2 to 67.2 SiO2. Paragneisses are in general more silicic than the orthogneisses. The xenoliths have Rb concentrations between 0.4 and 97 ppm but most samples are very low, with less than 3 ppm Rb. The Sr isotopic ratios of orthogneisses from the lowermost crust throughout most of northern Mexico are very similar and range from ca. 0.705 to 0.706. Previous studies indicate that these rocks have measured e{open}(inNd) values between+2 and -5. Paragneiss xenoliths are generally more radiogenic in Sr isotopic ratio, up to 0.730, and have lower e{open}Nd values of-11. The Nd and Sr isotopic characteristics of the orthogneisses are similar to those of the voluminous mid-Tertiary ignimbrites of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The xenoliths cannot represent cumulate material produced during the mid-Tertiary volcanism because they are Paleozoic or older. Consequently, based on Sr and Nd isotopic data, the silicic ignimbrites could comprise up to 100% lower crustal material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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