Petrogenesis of the reversely zoned Turtle pluton, Southeastern California

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Few plutons with a reversed geometry of a felsic rim and mafic core have been described in the geologic literature. The Turtle pluton of S.E. California is an intrusion composed of a granitic rim and granodioritic core and common microgranitoid enclaves. Field observations, mineral textures, and chemistries, major and trace element geochemistry, and isotopic variability support a petrogenetic model of in situ, concomitant, magma mixing, and fractional crystallization of rhyolitic magma progressively mixed with an increasing volume of andesitic magma, all without chemical contribution from entrained basaltic enclaves. Hornblende geobarometry indicates the Turtle pluton crystallized at about 3.5 kb. A crystallization sequence of biotite before hornblende (and lack of pyroxenes) suggests the initial granitic magma contained less than 4 wt% H₂0 at temperatures less than 780°C. U-Pb, Pb-Pb, Rb-Sr and oxygen isotope studies indicate the terrane intruded by the Turtle pluton is 1.8 Ga, that the Turtle pluton crystallized at 130 Ma, that the Target Granite and garnet aplites are about 100 Ma, and that these intrusions were derived from different sources. Models based on isotopic data suggest the rhyolitic end member magma of the Turtle pluton was derived from mafic igneous rocks, and was not derived from sampled Proterozoic country rocks. Similarity of common Sr and Pb isotopic ratios of these rocks to other Mesozoic intrusions in the Colorado River Region suggest the Turtle pluton and Target Granite have affinities like rocks to the east, including the Whipple Mountains and plutons of western Arizona. P-T-t history of the southern Turtle Mountains implies uplift well into the upper crust by Late Cretaceous time so that the heating and deformation events of the Late Cretaceous and Tertiary observed in flanking ranges did not affect the study area.