The source of Central American lavas: inferences from geochemical inverse modeling

Mark D. Feigenson, Michael J. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The rate earth element chemistry of a large suite of samples from the Central American volcanic front has been determined to understand their petrogenesis. Different segments of the volcanic front are compared on the basis of their calculated source rare earth patterns as deduced from inverse modeling. The results yield a range in the extent of light rare earth enrichment of the source, as well as in source mineralogy. Moderateto-strong LREE enrichment and high modal garnet contents are observed for the sources of both Guatemala and central Costa Rica, whereas slight LREE depletion and little or no garnet occurs in the Nicaraguan source region. Although distinct source regions beneath each Central American segment are permitted by the modeling, it is more likely that the mantle wedge is broadly homogeneous but locally heterogeneous. Small volume, relatively enriched, garnet-bearing veins surrounded by a matrix of isotopically depleted mantle periodotite could exist throughout the mantle wedge. Apparently distinct sources occur due to the variation in partial melting beneath the different segments, controlled by the amount of subduction-generated flux per unit wedge volume, which in turn is a function of the dip of the subducted lithosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-235
Number of pages10
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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