Tertiary Minette and Melanephelinite Dikes, Wasatch Plateau, Utah - Records of Mantle Heterogeneities and Changing Tectonics
A swarm of minette and melanephelinite dikes is exposed over 2500 km2 in and near the Wasatch Plateau, central Utah, along the western margin of the Colorado Plateaus in the transition zone with the Basin and Range province. To date, 110 vertical dikes in 25 dike sets have been recognized. Strikes shift from about N80-degrees-W for 24 Ma dikes, to about N60-degrees-W for 18 Ma, to due north for 8-7 m.y. These orientations are consistent with a shift from east-west Oligocene compression associated with subduction to east-west late Miocene crustal extension. Minettes are the most common rock type; mica-rich minette and mica-bearing melanephelinite occurs in 24 Ma dikes, whereas more ordinary minette is found in 8-7 Ma dikes. One melanephelinite dike is 18 Ma. These mafic alkaline rocks are transitional to one another in modal and major element composition but have distinctive trace element patterns and isotopic compositions; they appear to have crystallized from primitive magmas. Major, trace element, and Nd-Sr isotopic data indicate that melanephelinite, which has similarities to ocean island basalt, was derived from small degree melts of mantle with a chondritic Sm/Nd ratio probably located in the asthenosphere, but it is difficult to rule out a lithospheric source. In contrast, mica-bearing rocks (mica melanephelinite and both types of minette) are more potassic and have trace element patterns with strong Nb-Ta depletions and Sr-Nd isotopic compositions caused by involvement with a component from heterogeneously enriched lithospheric mantle with long-term enrichment of Rb or light rare earth elements (REE) (epsilon Nd as low as - 15 in minette). Light REE enrichment must have occurred anciently in the mid-Proterozoic when the lithosphere was formed and is not a result of Cenozoic subduction processes. After about 25 Ma, foundering of the subducting Farallon plate may have triggered upwelling of warm asthenospheric mantle to the base of the lithosphere. Melanephelinite magma may have separated from the asthenosphere and, while rising through the lithosphere, provided heat for lithospheric magma generation. Varying degrees of interaction between melanephelinite and small potassic melt fractions derived from the lithospheric mantle can explain the gradational character of the melanephelinite to minette suite.
David G. Tingey, Erich H. Christiansen, Myron G. Best, Joaquin Ruiz, and Daniel R. Lux. "Tertiary Minette and Melanephelinite Dikes, Wasatch Plateau, Utah - Records of Mantle Heterogeneities and Changing Tectonics" Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets 96 (1991): 13529-13544.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_lux/1