The origin of bajaites from the San Borja Volcanic Field in Baja California Norte, Mexico
Abstract:Baja California is a peninsula in western Mexico that was formed through a dynamic tectonic history of convergence, rifting and strike slip motion. At approximately 13 Ma, subduction along the northwestern coast of Mexico stopped, subsequently the Gulf of California opened and strike slip faults formed parallel to the ancient trench. After subduction ended, arc-related magmatism continued as the Baja peninsula was forming until about 2 Ma. The lavas erupting in the peninsula have variable compositions including calc-alkalic and tholeiitic arc basalts and bajaites. The term bajaite is a collective term for the high magnesian andesites and basaltic andesites in Baja California that have adakitic characteristics. Adakites, on the other hand, are arc lavas characterized by high silica content and Sr/Y and La/Yb ratios; these are generally believed to have formed through melting of subducted basaltic crust.
The origin of bajaite is controversial. It has been proposed as product of melting of either subducted basaltic crust primarily because of its adakitic characteristics (Saunders et al, 1987) or metasomatized mantle wedge because of its arc lava-like geochemical features (Castillo, 2008); it has also been proposed as a mixture of differentiated and mafic arc lavas (Streck et al, 2007). The composition of bajaite is similar to that of the bulk continental crust and, thus, its true origin can shed light on the mechanism for continental growth. In this study, we use geochemical techniques to resolve some of the controversies surrounding the origin of bajaite. We analyze the petrographic, major element, trace element, and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic compositions of bajaites from the San Borja Volcanic Field in Baja California Norte, Mexico to better constrain their petrogenetic history and origin.