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Magmatic growth and batholithic root development in the northern Sierra Nevada, California

Cecil, M. R. and Rotberg, G. L. and Ducea, M. N. and Saleeby, J. B. and Gehrels, G. E. (2012) Magmatic growth and batholithic root development in the northern Sierra Nevada, California. Geosphere, 8 (3). pp. 592-606. ISSN 1553-040X.

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In contrast to the much-studied central and southern Sierra Nevada, relatively little is known about the growth and petrogenesis of the batholith in its northern reaches, making it difficult to evaluate range-wide, spatiotemporal trends in batholithic development and the regional extent of eclogite root production and/or loss. New U-Pb ages from northern Sierra plutons reveal a shift between the age of Cretaceous magmatism recorded in the northern Sierra and the timing of an apparent flare-up in the main batholith, indicating that: (1) the northern batholith was more spatially dispersed and emplaced into regions beyond the modern topographic range, and (2) the Cretaceous high-flux event may have occurred over a longer period of time than previously suggested. Relative to the southern Sierra, Nd and Sr isotopic signatures in northern plutons are more primitive, mimicking the predominantly juvenile nature of the terranes into which the plutons are built. Despite differences in isotopic character, however, major and trace element trends are remarkably similar between northern plutons and the rest of the batholith, suggesting that emplacement into juvenile and/or oceanic lithosphere does not inhibit the generation of evolved, arc-type magmatic products. Northern plutons have relatively high La/Yb and Sr/Y and steep rare-earth element patterns, with small to no Eu anomalies. Taken together, these trends are interpreted to indicate deep processing of magmas in equilibrium with a feldspar-poor, amphibolite-rich residue, containing modest amounts of garnet. It is therefore likely that the northern Sierra Nevada batholith was emplaced into relatively thick crust and developed a dense mafic to ultramafic root. Because it is not seismically imaged today, we posit that the root was subsequently lost, perhaps in response to encroachment of proto-Cascade arc volcanism.

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Ducea, M. N.0000-0002-5322-0782
Alternate Title:Geodynamics And Consequences Of Lithospheric Removal In The Sierra Nevada
Additional Information:© 2012 Geological Society of America. Received 15 June 2011. Revision received 17 January 2012. Accepted 14 February 2012. The authors thank Victor Valencia for help in the University of Arizona LaserChron laboratory. We are grateful to Craig Jones and an anonymous reviewer for their thorough and thoughtful reviews, which greatly improved the manuscript. This research was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) awards EAR-0606967 (Continental Dynamics Program) to Ducea, EAR-0732436 for support of the Arizona LaserChron Center (Gehrels), and by the George and Betty Moore Foundation, Caltech Tectonics Observatory Number 171 (Saleeby and Cecil).
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Continental Dynamics ProgramEAR-0606967
George and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Tectonics Observatory171
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121106-140459198
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Official Citation:GEODYNAMICS AND CONSEQUENCES OF LITHOSPHERIC REMOVAL IN THE SIERRA NEVADA, CALIFORNIA THEMED ISSUE: M.R. Cecil, G.L. Rotberg, M.N. Ducea, J.B. Saleeby, and G.E. Gehrels Magmatic growth and batholithic root development in the northern Sierra Nevada, California Geosphere, June 2012, v. 8, p. 592-606, first published on April 19, 2012, doi:10.1130/GES00729.1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35308
Deposited By: John Wade
Deposited On:28 Nov 2012 17:47
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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