A 250-km-long broadband and long-period (0.01–20,000 s periods) magnetotelluric (MT) line along latitude 40½°N spans from the California-Nevada border at longitude 120°W across the buried extension of the northern Sierra Nevada, the southern Cascades arc, and the subducting Gorda plate to longitude 123°W. The resulting resistivity cross section reveals conductors at the locations of dewatering of the subducting metasomatized crust at 100 km depth, partial melting of the mantle wedge at 40–60 km depth, and melting in the crust shallower than 40 km. The conductor at 100 km is too conductive (8 S/m) to result solely from magma; very conductive fluids must be present either separately or incorporated into hydrous melts. A melt fraction of 7% is estimated for the mantle wedge (average conductivity is 0.06 S/m). Sites of Pleistocene and Holocene volcanism at Lassen Peak, Hat Creek, and Poison Lake are closely associated with crustal conductors inferred to be shallow magma. The MT study also reveals presumably basaltic magma at 40–50 km depth in the upper mantle where the eastern end of the profile extends into the Basin and Range province.
- Received 29 December 2011.
- Revision received 22 December 2012.
- Accepted 3 January 2013.
- © Geological Society of America