Enclaves and Their Bearing on the Origin of the Cornubian Batholith, Southwest England

James A. Stimac, Alan H. Clark, Yanshao Chen* and Sammy Garcia
Earth and Environmental Sciences, MS-D462, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
Department of Geological Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6
INC-15, MS-G776, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
*Present address: Dept. of Physics, University of Toronto, 60 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A7

Abstract: Enclaves of diverse origin are present in minor amounts in the coarse-grained biotite granites of the Cornubian batholith, southwest England. The most common enclave type is layered, rich in biotite, cordierite and aluminosilicates, and has textures and compositions that reveal variable degrees of melt extraction from metasedimentary source rocks. Rare sillimanite-bearing enclaves represent residual material, either from the region of magma generation or its ascent path, but most such enclaves were probably derived from the contact aureole closer to the present level of exposure. These non-igneous enclaves (NIE) and their disaggregation products are present in all major plutons, comprising from < 2 to 5 vol.% of the granites. Enclaves of igneous origin are also present in all major plutons except Carnmenellis, generally comprising < 1 vol.% of the granites. The most common type is intermediate in composition, with microgranular texture, and mineral compositions and textures consistent with an origin by magma mixing. Large crystals of K-feldspar, plagioclase and quartz, common in these microgranular enclaves (ME) but absent in NIE, represent phenocrysts derived from the silicic end-member during magma mixing events rather than products of metasomatism as suggested previously. Although the composition of the mafic end-member (basaltic or lamprophyric) involved in the mixing process is poorly constrained, the presence of ME in the granites, and the preponderance of mantle-derived mafic rocks in the coeval Exeter Volcanics, indicate that mafic magma injection into the crust was a factor in the generation of the batholith. Advection of sub-crustal heat provides an explanation for large-volume crustal melting in regions of relatively thin crust such as southwest England.

Keywords: enclaves • magma mixing • S-type granite • Cornubian batholith

Mineralogical Magazine; June 1995 v. 59; no. 395; p. 273-296; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1995.059.395.12
© 1995, The Mineralogical Society
Mineralogical Society (www.minersoc.org)