Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic characteristics of a variety of lithologies from the Guerrero composite terrane, west-central Mexico: constraints on their origin

  • Adriana Potra
  • Rosemary Hickey-Vargas
  • Andrew W. Macfarlane
  • Vincent J.M. Salters
Keywords: radiogenic isotopes, thermal ionization mass spectrometer, multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, Guerrero terrane, Zihuatanejo terrane, Mexico


Lead, Sr, and Nd isotope analyses of Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks from the southern part of Guerrero terrane in Mexico provide a better understanding of their origin. Metamorphic rocks collected south of Arteaga (Zihuatanejo terrane) have similar Pb isotope values to basement rocks from Nevado de Toluca, indicating a possible connection of the basement in these areas. Lead isotope ratios of rocks from the Mesozoic Guerrero and Paleozoic Mixteca terranes are similar to those of north Peruvian Mesozoic Olmos and Paleozoic Marañón complexes, but more radiogenic than Grenville-age basement of southeast Mexico (Guichicovi complex) and north Colombia (Garzón massif and Santa Marta massif).

Present-day Pb, Sr, and Nd isotope ratios of Mesozoic sedimentary rocks from Zihuatanejo and Teloloapan terranes define two clusters: rock from the Huetamo region (Zihuatanejo terrane), with less evolved isotopic signatures, and rocks from the Coastal belt (Colima and Purificación areas in Zihuatanejo terrane) and from the Teloloapan area (Teloloapan terrane) with higher isotopic ratios. Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic ratios suggest the involvement of a more evolved component, possibly the basement rocks, in the generation of the sedimentary rocks from the Coastal belt and south of Teloloapan area compared to the sedimentary rocks from the Huetamo area.

Cenozoic plutonic rocks from La Verde have more radiogenic isotopic ratios than samples from Inguarán, El Malacate, and La Esmeralda. These differences could result from assimilation of different rocks (Arteaga complex or sedimentary rocks) or different extents of contamination. Initial Sr and Nd isotopic values of the Cretaceous granitoids from Manzanillo and Jilotlán plot very close to the igneous samples from Inguarán, El Malacate, and La Esmeralda; this similarity may indicate that they had a common source. Isotopic compositions of Cenozoic plutonic rocks are consistent with subduction-related magmatism and suggest involvement of crustal material by assimilation during the rise of the magma, or by incorporation of subducted sediments, or both.