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
David A John1, Kathryn E Watts2, Christopher Henry3, Joseph P Colgan2 and Brian Cousens4, (1)USGS, Menlo Park, CA, United States, (2)U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, United States, (3)University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV, United States, (4)Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada
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.