Postmagmatic processes mask the originalwhole-rock chemistry of most Mesozoic igneous rocks fromthe Andean arc and back-arc units preserved in Chile. Mineral assemblages corresponding to subgreenschist metamorphic facies and/or propylitic hydrothermal alteration are ubiquitous in volcanic and plutonic rocks, suggesting element mobility at macroscopic and microscopic scale. However, fresh primary phenocrysts of clinopyroxene and plagioclase do occur in some of the altered rocks.Weuse major and trace element chemistry of such mineral phases to infer the geochemical variations of four Jurassic arc and four back-arc units from northern Chile.
Clinopyroxene belonging to rocks of the main arc and two units of the bark-arc are augites with low contents of HFSE and REE; they originated from melting of an asthenospheric mantle source. Clinopyroxenes from a third back-arc unit show typical OIB affinities, with high Ti and trace element contents and low Si. Trace elemental variations in clinopyroxenes from these arc and back-arc units suggest that olivine and clinopyroxene were the main fractionating phases during early stages of magma evolution. The last back-arc unit shows a broad spectrum of clinopyroxene compositions that includes depleted arc-like augite, high Al and high Sr–Ca diopside (adakite-like signature). The origin of these lavas is the result of melting of a mixture of depleted mantle plus Srrich sediments and subsequent high pressure fractionation of garnet.
Thermobarometric calculations suggest that the Jurassic arc and back-arcmagmatismhad at least one crustal stagnation level where crystallization and fractionation took place, located at ca. ~8–15 km. The depth of this stagnation level is consistent with lower-middle crust boundary in extensional settings. Crystallization conditions calculated for high Al diopsides suggest a deeper stagnation level that is not consistent with a thinned back-arc continental crust. Thus minor garnet fractionation occurred before these magmas reached the base of the crust. The presented data support the existence of a heterogeneous sub arc mantle and complex magmatic processes in the early stages of the Andean subduction.