Collaborative Research: Plutons as Ingredients for Continental Crust: Pilot Study of the Differences between intermediate plutons and lavas in the intra-oceanic Aleutian arc
DESCRIPTION: Felsic plutonic rocks formed in arcs are buoyant with respect to mantle peridotite over the entire range of relevant pressures and temperatures. They tend to remain at the Earth?s surface, to form the fundamental building blocks of continental crust. In the Aleutians, most felsic plutonic rocks have compositions that overlap estimates for the bulk composition of the continental crust, and that are distinctly different from spatially associated lavas. Understanding the genesis of Aleutian felsic plutonic rocks is a key to understanding continental genesis and evolution via arc magmatism, a key science goal for the MARGINS and GeoPRISMS Initiatives. The PIs will address the following questions: (1) Do Aleutian plutonic rocks have an isotopically distinct source composition, compared to nearby lavas? If they do, this is vitally important since it is commonly assumed that erupted basalts are representative of the magmatic flux from the mantle into arc crust. If not, we will evaluate how they can be explained as the result of different differentiation processes operating on the same parental melt. (2) Has there been compositional variation in the Aleutian arc over time? Do differences between plutonic and volcanic rocks represent temporal evolution of the arc, or different modes of magma transport and emplacement for different magma compositions? And (3) are high viscosity felsic magmas preferentially emplaced in plutons, while low viscosity, mafic magmas preferentially form lavas? What biases does this introduce, when lavas are presumed to be representative of arc magmatic processes and compositions?