Additional Participants

Graduate Students

Ben Johnston

Benjamin Hooks

Other Collaborators

Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre

Robert Ellam

Project Period

February 2001-January 2004

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



Granitic plutons of the Coastal Maine Magmatic Province (CMMP) commonly display dramatic field relations that record interaction between magmas of markedly different composition (chemical and isotopic) and physical properties. Silicic magma chambers, derived from the crust, received influxes of denser mafic magma that spread out along the floor of these chambers to produce a compositional stratification know as Mafic and Silicic Layered Intrusions (MASLI). The spectacular field relations and large compositional variation in the vicinity of the interface between contrasting magma types are well document by recent studies. In contrast, the extent of physical and chemical coupling between the base of the chamber, that receives mafic influx, and the overlying silicic magma remains poorly understood. Three known or presumed MASLI plutons in the CMMP, the Vinalhaven, Deer Isle, and Mt. Waldo granites, have been selected for study to address this important issue. Specifically, what processes and other factors determine the extent to which heat and material are exchanged between contrasting magma types? Is heat and mass subsequently distributed to the upper reaches of the chamber? By combining textural, compositional and isotopic studies of zoned plagioclase and accessory minerals (using electron and ion-microprobe techniques), along with data for magmatic enclaves from each of the granites, the relative timing and extent of variation in composition of the magma from with individual minerals crystallized can be assessed. Comparison of internal variations among adjacent mineral grains will be used to constrain the relative extent to which material is redistributed within the chamber. Furthermore, studies such as this will enhance our understanding of magma chamber dynamics and growth, enable recognition of the contribution of mantle and crustal components in granite petrogenesis, and evaluate models for the growth and evolution of continental lithosphere.

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