The 1.5 Ma evolution of the Late Pliocene (5.7 to 4.2 Ma) Mt Sidley volcano, Marie Byrd Land, is examined using major and trace elements, Sr, Nd, O and Pb isotopic data. A large (5 km × 5 km) breached caldera exposes lavas and tephras, deep within Mt Sidley, and allows its magmatic evolution to be elucidated. Two alkaline rock series are distinguished: (a) a strongly silica-under-saturated basanite to phonolite series; (b) a more silica-saturated to -oversaturated alkali basalt to trachyte series. Rock compositions in both series fall within a narrow range of 77Sr/86Sri (0.7028–0.7032), 143Nd/144Ndi (0.51285–0.51290) and δ18O (5.0–6.0‰), and with 206Pb/204Pb (>19.5), suggest an asthenospheric source containing a strong mantle plume component. Partial melting models require ≤2% melting to produce primary basanite and ≤5% melting to produce alkali basalt from the same mantle source. The differentiation of the phonolitic series is modeled by fractionation of diopside, olivine, plagioclase, titaniferous magnetite, nepheline and/or apatite from basanite to derive 35% mugearite, 25% benmoreite and 20% phonolite as residual liquids. Fractional crystallization of a similar mineral assemblage from alkali basalt is modeled for compositions in the trachyte series. However, many trachytes have variable 87Sr/86Sri (0.7033–0.7042), low 143Nd/144Ndi (0.51280–0.51283), high δ18O (6.5–8.4‰) and are silica oversaturated, suggesting they are contaminated by crust. The trachytes evolved by a two-step assimilation–fractional crystallization process (AFC). The first step involved contamination of alkali basalt by calc-alkaline granitoids within the middle crust where high assimilation to crystallization rates (high-r AFC) produced trachytic magmas characterized by depletions in Ta and Nb relative to K and Rb. The second step involved further fractionation of these magmas by low-r AFC within the upper crust to produce another suite of trachytes showing extreme incompatible element enrichment (e.g. Zr>1000 p.p.m/ and Th>100 p.p.m.).