40Ar/39Ar and U-Pb Ages and Isotopic Data for Oligocene Ignimbrites, Calderas, and Granitic Plutons, Southern Stillwater Range and Clan Alpine Mountains: Insights into the Volcanic-Plutonic Connection and Crustal Evolution in Western Nevada
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Calderas in the southern Stillwater Range (SSR) and Clan Alpine Mountains (CAM) were formed during the mid-Tertiary ignimbrite flareup and subsequently tilted (40->90°) by large-magnitude extension. New geologic mapping, geochemistry, and 40Ar/39Ar and SHRIMP U-Pb zircon dating document 2 periods of magmatism resulting in 4 nested calderas and related granitoid plutons in sections up to 10 km thick. The first period included pre-caldera rhyolite lava domes (30(?) Ma), ~5 km of pre- and post-collapse intermediate lavas and rhyolite tuff that filled the Job Canyon caldera (~29.4 to 28.8 Ma), and the >4-5 km thick, geochemically similar IXL pluton (28.9±0.4 Ma) that intruded the Job Canyon caldera. The second period included pre-caldera rhyolite lava domes and dikes (~25.5 Ma) and 3 ignimbrite units in 3 calderas: tuff of the Louderback Mountains (low-silica rhyolite; ≥600 m thick; ~25.2 Ma); tuff of Poco Canyon (high-silica rhyolite; up to 4.3 km thick; 25.27±0.05 Ma); and ≥2000 km3 tuff of Elevenmile Canyon (trachydacite to rhyolite; up to 4.5 km thick; 25.12±0.01 Ma). The composite Freeman Creek pluton (granite, 24.8±0.4 Ma; granodiorite, 25.0±0.2 Ma) and Chalk Mountain rhyolite porphyry (25.2±0.2 Ma) and granite (24.8±0.3 Ma) plutons intruded the Poco Canyon and Elevenmile Canyon calderas. Early (30 Ma) rhyolites have the least radiogenic compositions (Sri~0.7040), whereas other units are relatively homogeneous (Sri~0.7050, ENd~0.0). Oxygen isotope compositions for SSR and CAM calderas are highly variable (d18Oquartz=5.6-8.2‰, d18Osanidine=5.5-7.0‰, d18Ozircon= 4.1-6.3‰), corresponding to a magmatic range of 5.7-7.9‰. U-Pb dating of zircons indicates homogeneous age populations and few/no xenocrysts and antecrysts. These data show that (1) thick plutons (>2-5 km) underlie compositionally and temporally related caldera-filling ignimbrites, (2) caldera-forming cycles are isotopically variable, requiring divergent magmatic sources in relatively focused (space and time) magmatic episodes, (3) caldera magmas have a strong mantle affinity and overlap isotopically (Sr, Nd, and O) with regional Late Cenozoic basalts, and (4) silicic magmatism replaced the Mesozoic crust to depths >5 to 10 km, radically altering the crustal profile in the western Nevada Great Basin at ~30-25 Ma.