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Department of Earth Sciences

Staff and Postgraduate Students

Publication details for Prof Jon Davidson

Davidson, J.P., Font, L., Charlier, B.L.A. & Tepley, F.J. III (2006). Mineral-scale Sr isotope variation in plutonic rocks – a tool for unraveling the evolution of magma systems. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Earth Sciences 97(4): 357-367.

Author(s) from Durham


Isotope ratios of elements such as Sr, Nd, Pb and Hf can be used as tracers of magmatic sources and processes. Analytical capabilities have evolved so that isotope ratios can now be analysed in situ, and isotopic tracers can therefore be used within single minerals to track the changing magmatic environment in which a given mineral grew. This contribution shows that Sr isotope ratios in feldspars that make up plutonic rocks will typically preserve initial isotopic variations, provided precise and accurate age corrections can be applied. Variations in initial isotope ratio can give a core-to-rim record of magmatic evolution and can be used to diagnose open system events such as contamination and magma recharge and mixing.
New single grain Sr isotope data are presented from the Dais Intrusion, Antarctica, which reflect an open system origin for the crystals. The crystal cargo appears to be aggregated and assembled during transport and emplacement. This model, as opposed to a magma body crystallising post emplacement, may be more applicable to plutonic rocks in general, and is testable using the in situ isotopic determination methods described here.