A tale of five enclaves: Mineral perspectives on origins of mafic enclaves in the Tuolumne Intrusive Complex

C. G. Barnes, K. Werts, V. Memeti, S. R. Paterson, R. Bremer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The widespread occurrence of mafic magmatic enclaves (mme) in arc volcanic rocks attests to hybridization of mafic-intermediate magmas with felsic ones. Typically, mme and their hosts differ in mineral assemblage and the compositions of phenocrysts and matrix glass. In contrast, in many arc plutons, the mineral assemblages in mme are the same as in their host granitic rocks, and major-element mineral compositions are similar or identical. These similarities lead to difficulties in identifying mixing end members except through the use of bulk-rock compositions, which themselves may reflect various degrees of hybridization and potentially melt loss. This work describes the variety of enclave types and occurrences in the equigranular Half Dome unit (eHD) of the Tuolumne Intrusive Complex and then focuses on textural and mineral composition data on five porphyritic mme from the eHD. Specifically, majorand trace-element compositions and zoning patterns of plagioclase and hornblende were measured in the mme and their adjacent host granitic rocks. In each case, the majority of plagioclase phenocrysts in the mme (i.e., large crystals) were derived from a rhyolitic end member. The trace-element compositions and zoning patterns in these plagioclase phenocrysts indicate that each mme formed by hybridization with a distinct rhyolitic magma. In some cases, hybridization involved a single mixing event, whereas in others, evidence for at least two mixing events is preserved. In contrast, some hornblende phenocrysts grew from the enclave magma, and others were derived from the rhyolitic end member. Moreover, the composition of hornblende in the immediately adjacent host rock is distinct from hornblende typically observed in the eHD. Although primary basaltic magmas are thought to be parental to the mme, little or no evidence of such parents is preserved in the enclaves. Instead, the data indicate that hybridization of already hybrid andesitic enclave magmas with rhyolitic magmas in the eHD involved multiple andesitic and rhyolitic end members, which in turn is consistent with the eHD representing an amalgamation of numerous, compositionally distinct magma reservoirs. This conclusion applies to enclaves sampled <30 m from one another. Moreover, during amalgamation of various rhyolitic reservoirs, some mme were evidently disrupted from a surrounding mush and thus carried remnants of that mush as their immediately adjacent host. We suggest that detailed study of mineral compositions and zoning in plutonic mme provides a means to identify magmatic processes that cannot be deciphered from bulk-rock analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-374
Number of pages23
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


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