Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 111–124 | Cite as

Clinopyroxene thermobarometry of basalts from the Coso and Big Pine volcanic fields, California

  • B. E. Mordick
  • A. F. Glazner
Original Paper


The Coso and Big Pine volcanic fields of eastern California exhibit different magmatic histories. The Big Pine field erupted only basalt lavas, some of which bear mantle xenoliths, whereas the Coso field erupted both basalt and rhyolite and is a major geothermal resource. These different magmatic products could be explained if Coso basalts stalled in the crust before erupting, providing heat to generate silicic magma, whereas Big Pine basalts erupted directly from mantle depths. Clinopyroxene–liquid thermobarometry indicates an average clinopyroxene crystallization depth of 45 km for Big Pine basalts and 19 km for Coso basalts, consistent with this hypothesis. Differences in crustal density, crustal structure, and prior magmatic history may have contributed to the different magmatic processes operating at each field. Our results indicate that the effects of analytical error, crystal zoning, and correlated errors on estimated temperatures and pressures from the thermobarometer are relatively small compared to intersample differences.


Olivine Basaltic Magma Mantle Xenolith Volcanic Field Silicic Magma 
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.



Research in the Coso field has been aided over the years by the U.S. Navy’s Geothermal Program Office. We especially thank Frank Monastero for encouragement, expert advice, and a thorough technical review of this manuscript. Keith Putirka and Gordon Moore provided constructive and positive reviews for the journal, and Putirka helped us to properly implement the thermobarometer. Pre-submission reviews by Drew Coleman and Larry Benninger greatly aided the science and presentation. We thank Alan Boudreau for help with the microprobe analyses.

Supplementary material


  1. Bacon CR (1982) Time-predictable bimodal volcanism in the Coso range California. Geology 10:65–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bacon CR, Metz J (1984) Magmatic inclusions in rhyolites, contaminated basalts, and compositional zonation beneath the Coso volcanic field, California. Contrib Mineral Petrol 85:346–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bacon CR, MacDonald R, Smith RL, Baedecker PA (1981) Pleistocene high-silica rhyolites of the Coso volcanic field, Inyo county, California. J Geophys Res 86:10223–10241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bacon CR, Kurasawa H, Delevaux MH, Kistler RW, Doe BR (1984) Lead and strontium isotopic evidence for crustal interaction and compositional zonation in the source regions of Pleistocene basaltic and rhyolitic magmas of the Coso volcanic field, California. Contrib Mineral Petrol 85:366–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bateman PC (1965) Geologic map of the Big Pine 15-minute quadrangle, California. U.S. Geol Surv Prof Pap 470, Plate 4Google Scholar
  6. Beard BL, Glazner AF (1995) Trace element and Sr and Nd isotopic composition of mantle xenoliths from the Big Pine volcanic field, California. J Geophys Res 10:4169–4179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bierman P, Gillespie A, Whipple K, Clark D (1991) Quaternary geomorphology and geochronology of Owens Valley, California: Geological Society of America field trip. In: Walawender MJ, Hanan BB (eds) Geological excursions in southern California and Mexico: guidebook for the 1991 annual meeting. Geological Society of America, San Diego, pp 199–223Google Scholar
  8. Black RA, Walker JD, Baker GS (2002) Three-dimensional gravity modeling and crustal-density variations, Panamint Range to the eastern Sierra Nevada, southeastern California. Geol Soc Am Mem 195:229–241Google Scholar
  9. Combs J (1980) Heat flow in the Coso geothermal area, Inyo County, California. J Geophys Res 85:2411–2424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Darrow AC (1972) Origin of the basalts of the Big Pine volcanic field, California. M.S. thesis, University of California, Santa BarbaraGoogle Scholar
  11. Ducea MN, Saleeby JB (1996) Buoyancy sources for a large, unrooted mountain range, the Sierra Nevada, California: evidence from xenolith thermobarometry. J Geophys Res 101:8229–8244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duffield WA, Bacon CR, Dalrymple GB (1980) Late Cenozoic volcanism, geochronology, and structure of the Coso range, Inyo county, California. J Geophys Res 85:2381–2404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fliedner MM, Ruppert S, SSCD Working Group (1996) Three-dimensional crustal structure of the southern Sierra Nevada from seismic fan profiles and gravity modeling. Geology 24:367–370Google Scholar
  14. Glazner AF, Miller JS (1997) A major lithospheric boundary in eastern California defined by isotope ratios in Cenozoic basalts from the Coso Range and surrounding areas. Geol Soc Am Abs Programs 29:69Google Scholar
  15. Glazner AF, Ussler W III (1988) Trapping of magma at midcrustal density discontinuities. Geophys Res Lett 15:673–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jensen BB (2000) Partitioning of elements in sector-zoned clinopyroxenes. Mineral Mag 64:725–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jones CH, Wernicke BP, Farmer GL, Walker JD, Coleman DS, McKenna LW, Perry FV (1992) Variations across and along a major continental rift: an interdisciplinary study of the Basin and Range Province, western USA. Tectonophysics 213:57–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lachenbruch AH, Sass JH (1978) Models of an extending lithosphere and heat flow in the Basin and Range province. Geol Soc Am Mem 52:209–250Google Scholar
  19. Manley CR, Bacon CR (2000) Rhyolite thermobarometry and the shallowing of the magma reservoir, Coso volcanic field, California. J Petrol 41:149–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marsh BD (1981) On the crystallinity, probability of occurrence, and rheology of lava and magma. Contrib Mineral Petrol 78:85–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McKenzie D, Bickle MJ (1988) The volume and composition of melt generated by extension of the lithosphere. J Petrol 29:625–679Google Scholar
  22. Miller JS (1999) Recent perspectives on the dynamics of small-volume rhyolite magma systems from Coso volcanic field, CA. EOS Trans AGU 80:F1178Google Scholar
  23. Miller JS, Wooden JL (2004) Residence, resorption and recycling of zircons in Devils Kitchen rhyolite, Coso volcanic field, California. J Petrol 45:2155–2170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Monastero FC, Katzenstein AM, Miller JS, Unruh JR, Adams MC, Richards-Dinger K (2005) The Coso geothermal field: a nascent metamorphic core complex. Geol Soc Am Bull 117:1534–1553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moore JG (1963) Geology of the Mount Pinchot quadrangle southern Sierra Nevada California. US Geol Surv Bull 1130, Plate 1Google Scholar
  26. Nakamura Y (1973) Origin of sector-zoning of igneous clinopyroxenes. Am Mineral 58:986–990Google Scholar
  27. Nelson CA (1966) Geologic map of the Waucoba Mountain quadrangle, Inyo County, California. US Geological Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map GQ-528Google Scholar
  28. Novak SW, Bacon CR (1986) Pliocene volcanic rocks of the Coso range, Inyo County, California. USGS special paper 1383, p 42Google Scholar
  29. Ormerod DS, Hawkesworth CJ, Rogers NW, Leeman WP, Menzies MA (1988) Tectonic and magmatic transitions in the Western Great Basin, USA. Nature 333:349–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ormerod DS, Rogers NW, Hawkesworth CJ (1991) Melting in the lithospheric mantle: inverse modeling of alkali-olivine basalts from the Big Pine Volcanic Field, California. Contrib Mineral Petrol 108:305–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Plouff D, Isherwood WF (1980) Aeromagnetic and gravity surveys in the Coso Range, California. J Geophys Res 85:2491–2501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Putirka K, Condit CD (2003) Cross section of a magma conduit system at the margin of the Colorado Plateau. Geology 31:701–704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Putirka K, Johnson M, Kinzler R, Longhi J, Walker D (1996) Thermobarometry of mafic igneous rocks based on clinopyroxene–liquid equilibria, 0–30 kbar. Contrib Mineral Petrol 123:92–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Reasenberg PA, Ellsworth WL, Walter AW (1980) Teleseismic evidence for a low-velocity body under the Coso geothermal area. J Geophys Res 85:2471–2483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ross DC (1965) Geology of the Independence quadrangle, Inyo County, California. U.S. Geol Surv Bull 1181-OGoogle Scholar
  36. Ruppert S, Fliedner MM, Zandt G (1998) Thin crust and active upper mantle beneath Southern Sierra Nevada in the western United States. Tectonophysics 286:237–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Steltenpohl MG, Bartley JM (1987) Thermobarometric profile through the Caledonian nappe stack of Western Ofoten, North Norway. Contrib Mineral Petrol 96:93–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Takahashi E, Kushiro I (1983) Melting of a dry peridotite at high pressures and basalt magma genesis. Am Mineral 68:859–879Google Scholar
  39. Tsuruta K, Takahashi E (1998) Melting study of an alkali basalt JB-1 up to 12.5 GPa: behavior of potassium in the deep mantle. Phys Earth Planet Inter 107:119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walker JD, Black RA, Berry AK, Davis PJ, Andrew JE, Mitsdarfer JM (2002) Geologic maps of the northern Mojave Desert and southwestern Basin and Range Province, California; explanation of maps on CD-ROM. Geol Soc Am Mem 195:297–299Google Scholar
  41. Wang K, Plank T, Walker JD, Smith EI (2002) A mantle melting profile across the Basin and Range, SW USA. J Geophys Res 107. DOI 10.1029/2001JB000209 ECV 5-1-21Google Scholar
  42. Wilson CK, Jones CH, Gilbert HJ (2003) Single-chamber silicic magma system inferred from shear wave discontinuities of the crust and uppermost mantle, Coso geothermal area, California. J Geophys Res 108. DOI 10.1029/2002JB001798 ESE 2-1-16Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Anadarko Petroleum CorporationThe WoodlandsUSA

Personalised recommendations