Basaltic lavas from the Three Sisters and Dalles Lakes were erupted from two isolated vents in the central Washington Cascades at 370-400 ka and 2.2 Ma, respectively, and have distinct trace element compositions that exemplify an important and poorly understood feature of arc basalts. The Three Sisters lavas are calc-alkaline basalts (CAB) with trace element compositions typical of most arc magmas: high ratios of large-ion-lithophile to high-field-strength elements (LILE/HFSE), and strong negative Nb and Ta anomalies. In contrast, the Dalles Lakes lavas have relatively low LILE/HFSE and no Nb or Ta anomalies, similar to ocean-island basalts (OIB). Nearly all Washington Cascade basalts with high to moderate incompatible element concentrations show this CAB or OIB-like compositional distinction, and there is pronounced divergence between the two magma types with a large compositional gap between them. We show that this trace element distinction can be easily explained by a simple model of flux-melting of the mantle wedge by a fluid-rich subduction component (SC), in which the degree of melting (F) of the peridotite source is correlated with the amount of SC added to it. Distinctive CAB and OIB-like trace element compositions are best explained by a flux-melting model in which dF/dSC decreases with increasing F, consistent with isenthalpic (heat-balanced) melting. In the context of this model, CAB trace element signatures simply reflect large degrees of melting of strongly SC-fluxed peridotite along relatively low dF/dSC melting trends, consistent with derivation from relatively cold mantle. Under other conditions (i.e., small degrees of melting or large degrees of melting of weakly SC-fluxed peridotite [high dF/dSC]), either OIB- or MORB (mid-ocean ridge basalt)-like compositions are produced. Trace element and isotopic compositions of Washington Cascade basalts are easily modeled by a correlation between SC and F across a range of mantle temperatures. This implies that the dominant cause of arc magmatism in this region is flux melting of the mantle wedge.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology