We present global and regional correlations between whole-rock values of Sr/Y and La/Yb and crustal thickness for intermediate rocks from modern subduction-related magmatic arcs formed around the Pacific. These correlations bolster earlier ideas that various geochemical parameters can be used to track changes of crustal thickness through time in ancient subduction systems. Inferred crustal thicknesses using our proposed empirical fits are consistent with independent geologic constraints for the Cenozoic evolution of the central Andes, as well as various Mesozoic magmatic arc segments currently exposed in the Coast Mountains, British Columbia, and the Sierra Nevada and Mojave-Transverse Range regions of California. We propose that these geochemical parameters can be used, when averaged over the typical lifetimes and spatial footprints of composite volcanoes and their intrusive equivalents to infer crustal thickness changes over time in ancient orogens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas