Schlieren-bound Magmatic Structures Formed by the Unmixing of Granitic Magmas: A Case Study from Pothole Dome, Sierra Nevada
Abstract:There is ongoing debate regarding the mobility of crystal mush zones in granitic magmas and their ability to mix and interact with intrusive batches to form compositional heterogeneity in plutons. Magmatic structures, localized zones of compositional diversity, enable evaluation of the significance of magmatic flow and convection vs. chemical diffusion in magmatic systems by determining their mode of formation. With further study, magmatic structures are potentially powerful tools recording syn-emplacement tectonic activity. Pothole Dome, in the Cathedral Peak Granodiorite of the Tuolumne Intrusive Complex is an ideal location to investigate magmatic structures since a variety of plumes, pipes, mafic ellipsoids, and schlieren troughs are densely clustered. Previous workers have established patterns in the orientations of different Pothole Dome magmatic structures that are indicative of a broad pattern of movement and younging directions at the kilometer scale. Preliminary whole-rock geochemical and isotopic data compare variations between the normal Cathedral magmas and a plume, trough, tube, potassium feldspar cluster and granitic dyke to investigate plausible mechanisms for the formation of the distinct compositional diversity formed in the structures.
Schlieren, abundant in biotite, hornblende, apatite, sphene and zircon show relatively high levels of titanium, calcium and magnesium relative to the feldspar cluster and dyke. Schlieren are also enriched in minor elements including Zr, Y, Sr and Ce relative to the felsic structures. Both elemental and isotopic data for schlieren defining the plumes and troughs and the late leucogranitic dikes and k-feldspar clusters all plot outside the typical mixing line for Cathedral Peak Granodiorite compositions. We postulate that this may be a result of an unmixing process during physical flow of previously mixed populations of chemically distinct crystals in the Cathedral Peak.