Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 151, Issue 1, pp 20–44 | Cite as

Deciphering the source and contamination history of peraluminous magmas using δ18O of accessory minerals: examples from garnet-bearing plutons of the Sierra Nevada batholith

  • Jade Star LackeyEmail author
  • John W. Valley
  • Hans J. Hinke
Original paper


Peraluminous granitoids provide critical insight as to the amount and kinds of supracrustal material recycled in the central Sierra Nevada batholith, California. Major element concentrations indicate Sierran peraluminous granitoids are high-SiO2 (68.9–76.9) and slightly peraluminous (average molar Al2O3/(CaO + Na2O + K2O)=1.06). Both major and trace element trends mimic those of other high-silica Sierran plutons. Garnet (Grt) in the peraluminous plutons is almandine–spessartine-rich and of magmatic origin. Low grossular contents are consistent with shallow (<4 kbar) depths of garnet crystallization. Metasediments of the Kings Sequence commonly occur as wallrocks associated with the plutons, including biotite schists that are highly peraluminous (A/CNK=2.25) and have high whole rock (WR) δ18O values (9.6–21.8‰, average=14.5±2.9‰, n=26). Ultramafic wallrocks of the Kings–Kaweah ophiolite have lower average δ18O (7.1±1.3‰, n=9). The δ18O(WR) of the Kings Sequence is variable from west to east. Higher δ18O values occur in the west, where quartz in schists is derived from marine chert; values decrease eastward as the proportion of quartz from igneous and metamorphic sources increases. Peraluminous plutons have high δ18O(WR) values (9.5–13‰) consistent with supracrustal enrichment of their sources. However, relatively low initial 87Sr/86Sr values (0.705–0.708) indicate that the supracrustal component in the source of peraluminous magmas was dominantly altered ocean crust and/or greywacke. Also, plutons lack or have very low abundances (<1% of grains) of inherited zircon (Zrc) cores. Average δ18O(Zrc) is 7.9‰ in peraluminous plutons, a higher value than in coeval metaluminous plutons (6–7‰). Diorites associated with peraluminous plutons also have high δ18O(Zrc), 7.4–8.3‰, which is consistent with the diorites being derived from a similar source. Magmatic garnet has variable δ18O (6.6–10.5‰, avg.=7.9‰) due to complex contamination and crystallization histories, evidenced by multiple garnet populations in some rocks. Comparison of δ18O(Zrc) and δ18O(Grt) commonly reveals disequilibrium, which documents evolving magma composition. Minor (5–7%) contamination by high δ18O wallrocks occurred in the middle and upper crust in some cases, although low δ18O wallrock may have been a contaminant in one case. Overall, oxygen isotope analysis of minerals having slow oxygen diffusion and different times of crystallization (e.g., zircon and garnet), together with detailed textural analysis, can be used to monitor assimilation in peraluminous magmas. Moreover, oxygen isotope studies are a valuable way to identify magmatic versus xenocrystic minerals in igneous rocks.


Zircon Sillimanite Andalusite Supracrustal Rock Refractory Mineral 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by DOE 93ER14389 and NSF EAR99-02973 & 02-07340 (JWV), GSA and Sigma Xi grants (JSL), and the U.W. Department of Geology and Geophysics Weeks Fund. We thank Mike Spicuzza for assistance with stable isotope analysis, John Fournelle for assistance with the electron microprobe, and Brian Hess for making thin sections. Bruce Chappell, Elizabeth King, William Peck, Ilya Bindeman, Cory Clechenko, Aaron Cavosie, Clark Johnson, and Tom Lapen have added useful discussion and reviews of portions of this research. Jim Moore generously provided copies of unpublished maps, and Ron Kistler shared unpublished data. Laura Madsen helped in the field. David Graber assisted with sampling permits for Sequoia National Park. Calvin Miller and George Bergantz provided detailed and thoughtful journal reviews that helped us improve the overall quality of this paper.

Supplementary material

410_2005_43_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.6 mb)
Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jade Star Lackey
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • John W. Valley
    • 1
  • Hans J. Hinke
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyThe College of WoosterWoosterUSA
  3. 3.Malcolm Pirnie IncWhite PlainsUSA

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