- © 2013 UW Department of Geology and Geophysics
The Stewart Mountain basalt field in central Arizona is composed of three horizons of Miocene lavas over ∼4 km2. The youngest lava is ∼15.5 Ma. The field is in the southern Basin and Range at its transition to the Colorado Plateau. It is also at the northwestern margin of the ∼8000 km2 Goldfield-Superstition volcanic province (G-SVP), where basaltic lavas are ∼20–19 Ma. Stewart Mountain basalts are alkalic, and most have from 6–8 weight percent (wt%) MgO, but more primitive and evolved lavas (10.7 and 4 wt% MgO, respectively) are also present. Most incompatible element abundances differ widely for basalts within the 6–8 wt% MgO range, and they distinguish the three horizons (e.g., ranges for P2O5 are 0.5–1.4 wt%; Zr 125–250 ppm; La 40–80 ppm). One lava has quartz and plagioclase xenocrysts and even lower incompatible element abundances (e.g., P2O5 0.25 wt%; La 25 ppm). All Stewart Mountain basalts, however, have Nb-Ta negative anomalies, consistent with a lithospheric mantle source that had subduction characteristics. Isotopic compositions differ across the three basalt horizons (e.g., ranges for 87Sr/86Sr are 0.7049–0.7061; 206Pb/204Pb 17.7–19.2; ∊Nd −3.5 to −6.2), where the xenocrystic lava has the lowest Sr and Pb isotopic ratios.
Over its life, the Stewart Mountain field radiogenic isotope ratios decreased to reflect source heterogeneities, and its 206Pb/204Pb range is as wide as that formed by Oligocene–Miocene basalts collectively across the southern Basin and Range and transition zone. Incompatible-element abundances and ratios also reflect source heterogeneities, whereby the greatest differences are observed as abundances decreasing from middle to upper horizon basalts. Several abundance ratios, such as Zr/Nb, Th/Ta, Th/Nb, and Zr/Hf, record some of the source heterogeneities that are manifested over the short geologic time represented by the successive lava horizons. These temporal compositional changes likely reflect partial melts from a variably metasomatized lithospheric mantle. Compared to the compositions of the older, neighboring G-SVP basalts, Stewart Mountain lavas are generally evolved (MgO <8 wt%). The absence of mantle xenoliths in any Stewart Mountain lava and the xenocrystic lava both point to the compositional evolution having occurred in crustal reservoirs; however, based on the lowest isotopic ratios present in the xenocrystic lava, the upper crust was not a reservoir.
Comparing Stewart Mountain basalt incompatible-element abundance ratios to those in the neighboring G-SVP shows enough difference to conclude that these two Miocene basalt localities had lithospheric sources with distinct trace element characteristics. The G-SVP source also had higher, distinguishing ∊Nd (−1 to −2). All characteristics combined, the Stewart Mountain field shows that lithospheric source heterogeneities can be manifested both temporally and spatially over only a small surface area. Stewart Mountain lithospheric source indicates that magmatism in central Arizona did not have asthenospheric sources by 15 Ma.