Partial melting of mafic intrusions recently emplaced into the lower crust can produce voluminous silicic magmas with isotopic ratios similar to their mafic sources. Low-temperature (825 and 850??C) partial melts synthesized at 700 MPa in biotite-hornblende gabbros from the central Sierra Nevada batholith (Sisson et al. in Contrib Mineral Petrol 148:635-661, 2005) have major-element and modeled trace-element (REE, Rb, Ba, Sr, Th, U) compositions matching those of the Cretaceous El Capitan Granite, a prominent granite and silicic granodiorite pluton in the central part of the Sierra Nevada batholith (Yosemite, CA, USA) locally mingled with coeval, isotopically similar quartz diorite through gabbro intrusions (Ratajeski et al. in Geol Soc Am Bull 113:1486-1502, 2001). These results are evidence that the El Capitan Granite, and perhaps similar intrusions in the Sierra Nevada batholith with lithospheric-mantle-like isotopic values, were extracted from LILE-enriched, hydrous (hornblende-bearing) gabbroic rocks in the Sierran lower crust. Granitic partial melts derived by this process may also be silicic end members for mixing events leading to large-volume intermediate composition Sierran plutons such as the Cretaceous Lamarck Granodiorite. Voluminous gabbroic residues of partial melting may be lost to the mantle by their conversion to garnet-pyroxene assemblages during batholithic magmatic crustal thickening. ?? Springer-Verlag 2005.
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Experimental and geochemical evidence for derivation of the El Capitan Granite, California, by partial melting of hydrous gabbroic lower crust