The 87Sr/86Sr values of thermal waters and hydrothermal calcites of the Long Valley caldera geothermal system are more radiogenic than those of young intracaldera volcanic rocks. Five thermal waters display 87Sr/86Sr of 0.7081-0.7078 but show systematically lighter values from west to east in the direction of lateral flow. We believe the decrease in ratio from west to east signifies increased interaction of deeply circulating thermal water with relatively fresh volcanic rocks filling the caldera depression. All types of pre-, syn-, and post-caldera volcanic rocks in the west and central caldera have (87Sr/86Sr)m between about 0.7060 and 0.7072 and values for Sierra Nevada granodiorites adjacent to the caldera are similar. Sierran pre-intrusive metavolcanic and metasedimentary rocks can have considerably higher Sr-isotope ratios (0.7061-0.7246 and 0.7090-0.7250, respectively). Hydrothermally altered volcanic rocks inside the caldera have (87Sr/86Sr)m slightly heavier than their fresh volcanic equivalents and hydrothermal calcites (0.7068-0.7105) occupy a midrange of values between the volcanic/plutonic rocks and the Sierran metamorphic rocks. These data indicate that the Long Valley geothermal reservoir is first equilibrated in a basement complex that contains at least some metasedimentary rocks. Reequilibration of Sr-isotope ratios to lower values occurs in thermal waters as convecting geothermal fluids flow through the isotopically lighter volcanic rocks of the caldera fill. ?? 1991.
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A Sr-isotopic comparison between thermal waters, rocks, and hydrothermal calcites, Long Valley caldera, California