Geochemical characteristics of igneous rocks as petrogenetic indicators

  • Marjorie Wilson


In Chapter 1 we noted that magmas with distinctive major element characteristics are associated with specific tectonic settings. For example, calcalkaline series magmas are apparently associated uniquely with subduction, while low-K tholeiitic basalts are the typical products of magma generation at constructive plate margins. However, in general, the major element characteristics of primary mantle derived magmas are not particularly sensitive indicators of tectonic setting. Thus tholeiitic basalts are generated at mid-oceanic ridges but also in back-arc basins, oceanic islands, island arcs, active continental margins and continental flood basalt provinces. Fortunately, it is now well established that distinctive trace element and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic signatures are associated with different magma generation environments, although their petrogenetic interpretation in some instances remains ambiguous (Chs. 5–12).


Volcanic Rock Partial Melting Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis Igneous Rock Tectonic Setting 
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Further Reading

  1. Cox, K. G., J. D. Bell & R. J. Pankhurst 1979. The interpretation of igneous rocks, London: Allen and Unwin; Ch. 2.Google Scholar
  2. Faure, G. 1986. Principles of isotope geology,2nd edn New York: John WileyGoogle Scholar
  3. Graham, C. M. & R. S. Harmon 1983. Stable isotope evidence on the nature of crust-mantle interactions. In Continental basalts and mantle xenoliths, C. J. Hawkesworth & M. J. Norry (eds), 20–45. Nantwich: Shiva.Google Scholar
  4. Hanson, G. N. 1980. Rare earth elements in petrogenetic studies of igneous systems. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 8, 371–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. James, D. E. 1981. The combined use of oxygen and radiogenic isotopes as indicators of crustal contamination. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 9, 311–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Potts, P. J. 1987. A handbook of silicate rock analysis. London: Blackie.Google Scholar
  7. Thompson, R. N., M. A. Morrison, G. L. Hendry & S. J. Parry 1984. An assessment of the relative roles of crust and mantle in magma genesis. Phil Trans R. Soc. Lond. A310, 549–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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