Icelandite and aenigmatite-bearing pantellerite from the McDermitt caldera complex, Nevada-Oregon

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Intermediate lavas from the middle Miocene McDermitt caldera complex, Nevada-Oregon, have very high FeO* (= total Fe as FeO; 9.1 to 10.2 wt %) and low MgO (0.4 to 2.1 wt %) contents at SiO2 contents of 59.5 to 62 wt %. With the exception of significantly higher K2O contents (3.1 to 4.7 wt %), these lavas are compositionally very similar to icelandite ("tholeiitic andesite") from oceanic areas. In addition to the voluminous comendite tuffs of the complex, a thin unit of densely welded crystal-rich pantellerite tuff of probable air-fall origin is exposed on the northern wall of the McDermitt caldera. The pantellerite tuff contains 1.5% aenigmatite phenocrysts. The high FeO*/MgO ratios of the icelandites and the peralkaline nature of the silicic rocks suggest differentiation under conditions of low fO2 and fH2O. The existence at McDermitt of a continuous series of rocks ranging from potassic icelandite to comendite and pantellerite is consistent-as are other geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data-with the derivation of the icelandites and ultimately of the voluminous peralkaline silicic rocks of the complex from mafic magma generated from upwelling mantle material. Labile U released during the crystallization of late subvolcanic bodies of peralkaline silicic magma may have provided an appreciable proportion of the epigenetic U now present in the upper part of the caldera complex. Reducing conditions produced by the very Fe-rich glassy icelandites may have contributed to the fixation of U at the Aurora and Bretz prospects. © 1980 Geological Society of America.

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