We examine mid-lower crustal xenoliths erupted in Late Pleistocene to
Holocene alkali basalt at San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico to
investigate the role of partial melt in deep lithospheric deformation.
Using major and trace element mineral chemistry data obtained from
LA-ICP-MS and microstructural data obtained from EBSD, we cluster the
crustal xenoliths into two groups based on textural and geochemical
characteristics: Group (1) largely unfoliated two-pyroxene gabbros with
minor amounts of olivine, and Group (2) gabbros with strong
compositional foliation and up to 30% modal olivine. We interpret Group
1 xenoliths as representing underplated cumulates from basaltic magmas,
whereas petrographic and quantitative microstructural data suggest Group
2 xenoliths record melt infiltration of pre-existing gabbros coeval with
deformation, perhaps in a deep crustal shear zone. We propose this shear
zone represents a deep lithospheric expression of the active transform
plate boundary along the Baja California margin.