Isotopic characteristics of mantle sources for Quaternary continental alkaline magmas in the northern Canadian Cordillera

Jean Carignan*, John Ludden, Don Francis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Three mantle compositions are identified as potential source end members for Quaternary to recent alkaline volcanic rocks from Fort Selkirk, Llangorse-Hirschfeld, Alligator Lake and Mt. Edziza in the northern Canadian Cordillera. These are: (1) an amphibole-rich source, characterised by unradiogenic Sr, Nd and Pb, from which the olivine nephelinite lavas formed, (2) the continental lithospheric mantle which is characterised by high 207Pb 204Pb and appears to be involved in the formation of the alkali olivine basalts of Fort Selkirk, and (3) a mantle with radiogenic Pb and unradiogenic Sr (HIMU-type) represented by lavas from Mt. Edziza. The Mt. Edziza volcano is the largest of the volcanic centres in the region, and is considered to reflect melting of sublithospheric mantle of HIMU composition below central British Columbia. Incipient melting of amphibole-veined subcontinental mantle lithosphere resulted from plume upwelling and/or transtensional pressure release and produced the small nephelinite to olivine basalt centres of the northern Cordilleran Province. The source of the nephelinite magmas is slightly more radiogenic than present-day Pacific MORB, and is best represented by the most depleted component of the Aleutian magmas. This suggests enrichment of the subcontinental lithosphere in the northern Cordillera by melts of this isotopic composition during Cretaceous subduction. The Alligator Lake complex is anomalous and characterised by the most radiogenic lavas. Despite the presence of crustal xenoliths there is no clear geochemical signature for crustal contamination and, in contrast to the other volcanic centres which were erupted through the Intermontain Belt, the lavas of this centre may have been derived from a highly radiogenic lithospheric mantle beneath the Coast Plutonic complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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