Ivan P. Savov, William P. Leeman, Cin-Ty A. Lee, Steven B. Shirey
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2009 188:162-172
The geochemistry of NW USA rhyolites correlates strongly with geography and the nature of the underlying
basement terranes. Rhyolites from the Snake River Plain-Yellowstone (SRPY) province have higher 87Sr/86Sr,
207Pb/206Pb, and lower 143Nd/144Nd than those from the Oregon High Lava Plains (HLP) province, reflecting a
dominant influence of Precambrian cratonic crust east of the western Idaho suture zone versus accreted
oceanic terranes of Phanerozoic age to the west. Rhyolites from the cratonic domain show significant
enrichments of Th, U, and LREE/HREE, whereas B concentration and especially B/Nb and B/Rb are
systematically higher west of the tectonic boundary. This decoupling of B from the other incompatible
elements is best explained in terms of distinctive magmatic sources east and west of the suture zone.
B isotopic composition [σ11B] was measured for natural and synthetic glasses via multiple multiplier laser
ablation-ICP-MS. σ11B values are systematically lighter in SRPY rhyolites (-5.6 to -8.9 ‰) compared to
those from the HLP (-0.8 to -3.1 ‰). These data are consistent with strongly fluid-depleted and/or
metamorphosed sources for SRPY rhyolites, whereas HLP sources resemble those of typical oceanic basalts,
and could reflect melting of juvenile basalt-derived protoliths in the crust. B isotope ratios of low-d18O
rhyolites are indistinct from those with normal σ8O, suggesting that σ11B values are not strongly affected by
hydrothermal processes that alter source materials with meteoric water. Considering all data, it is likely that
B compositions of the rhyolites are inherited from their sources in the crust. Although low σ11B (<0 ‰) is also
observed in many mantle-derived basalts (i.e., OIB, MORB), in SRPY rhyolites it is associated with
enrichments of elements (e.g., U, Th, Rb, LREE) typically concentrated in continental crust, and thus old highgrade
metamorphic continental crust is inferred to be11B-depelted. If rhyolite protoliths were originally
metasediments, it is likely that bulk B and σ11B were selectively removed by metamorphic dehydration
reactions and transported to the surface via 11B-enriched fluids.
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