The granite problem as exposed in the southern Snake Range, Nevada

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology




A geochemically and mineralogically diverse group of granitoids is present within an area of 900 km2 in the southern Snake Range of eastern Nevada. The granitoids exposed range in age from Jurassic through Cretaceous to Oligocene and include two calcic intrusions, two different types of two-mica granites, and aplites. The younger intrusions appear to have been emplaced at progressively more shallow depths. All of these granitoid types are represented elsewhere in the eastern Great Basin, but the southern Snake Range is distinguished by the grouping of all these types within a relatively small area. The Jurassic calcic pluton of the Snake Creek-Williams Canyon area displays large and systematic chemical and mineralogical zonation over a horizontal distance of five km. Although major element variations in the pluton compare closely with Daly's average andesite-dacite-rhyolite over an SiO2 range of 63 to 76 percent, trace element (Rb, Sr, Ba) variations show that the zonation is the result of in situ fractional crystallization, with the formation of relatively mafic cumulates on at least one wall of the magma chamber. Models of trace element and isotopic data indicate that relatively little assimilation took place at the level of crystallization. Nonetheless, an initial 87Sr/86Sr value of 0.7071 and ??18O values of 10.2 to 12.2 permil suggest a lower crustal magma that was contaminated by upper crustal clastic sedimentary rocks before crystallization. The involvement of mantle-derived magmas in its genesis is difficult to rule out. Two other Jurassic plutons show isotopic and chemical similarities to the Snake Creek-Williams Canyon pluton. Cretaceous granites from eastern Nevada that contain phenocrystic muscovite are strongly peraluminous, and have high initial Sr-isotope ratios and other features characteristic of S-type granitoids. They were probably derived from Proterozoic metasediments and granite gneisses that comprise the middle crust of this region. Another group of granitoids (including the Tertiary aplites) show chemical, mineralogic, and isotopic characteristics intermediate between the first two groups and may have been derived by contamination of magmas from the lower crust by the midcrustal metasediments. ?? 1983 Springer-Verlag.

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The granite problem as exposed in the southern Snake Range, Nevada
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