Geochemistry of Proterozoic volcanic and granitic rocks from the Gold Hill-Wheeler Peak area, northern New Mexico

Kent C. Condie*, Timothy P. McCrink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Early Proterozoic supracrustal and plutonic rocks from the Gold Hill-Wheeler Peak area in northern New Mexico define three populations: amphibolite-diorite-tonalite, hornblendite-cumulus amphibolite and felsic volcanics and porphyries. Also present are mid-Proterozoic granites. Amphibolites are similar in Ti, Zr, Cr, Ni and REE contents to young calc-alkaline and arc basalts and diorites and tonalites are similar in composition to young andesites and to high-Al2O3 tonalites, respectively. Felsic volcanics resemble young felsic volcanics from mature arc systems in their immobile-element contents. Geochemical model studies suggest that the amphibolites, hornblendites, diorites and tonalites are related by progressive fractional crystallization of a hydrous parent tholeiite magma produced from partial melting of undepleted lherzolite. Amphibolites represent parent tholeiites modified by olivine removal. Hornblendite is an early solid residue comprised chiefly of hornblende, clinopyroxene, and olivine; diorite and cumulus amphibolite represent respectively residual solid (clinopyroxene, plagioclase, hornblende) and liquid, after 50% crystallization. Tonalite represents a residual liquid after 80% crystallization. Felsic volcanic rocks are produced by partial melting of a tonalite or diorite source with granulite-facies mineralogy in the lower crust. Granites have a similar origin to felsic volcanics although requiring an inhomogeneous source with the presence of residual hornblende or garnet. The calc-alkaline igneous rocks in the Gold Hill-Wheeler Peak area suggest the presence of an arc system in northern New Mexico during the Early Proterozoic. The fact that these rocks interfinger with and are overlain by mature clastic sediments favors a model in which a continental arc system is uplited, eroded and buried by cratonic sediments from the north.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-166
Number of pages26
JournalPrecambrian Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

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