Geology, geochronology and tectonic setting of late Cenozoic volcanism along the southwestern Gulf of Mexico: The Eastern Alkaline Province revisited

Ferrari, L. and Tagami, T. and Eguchi, M. and Orozco-Esquivel, M. T. and Petrone, C. M. and Jacobo-Albarran, J. and Lopez-Martinez, M. (2005) Geology, geochronology and tectonic setting of late Cenozoic volcanism along the southwestern Gulf of Mexico: The Eastern Alkaline Province revisited. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 146 (4). pp. 284-306. DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2005.02.004

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Abstract

A NNW-trending belt of alkaline mafic volcanic fields parallels the Gulf of Mexico from the U.S. border southward to Veracruz state, in eastern Mexico. Previous studies grouped this volcanism into the so-called “Eastern Alkaline Province” (EAP) and suggested that it resulted from Gulf-parallel extensional faulting migrating from north to south from Oligocene to Present. On the basis of new geologic studies, forty-nine unspiked K–Ar and two 40Ar–39Ar ages, we propose a new geodynamic model for the volcanism along the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. We studied in detail four of the six recognized fields of mafic alkaline volcanism in Veracruz state: 1) The lavas flows of Tlanchinol area (7.3–5.7 Ma), 2) the Alamo monogenetic field and Sierra de Tantima (7.6–6.6 Ma), 3) the Poza Rica and Metlatoyuca lava flows (1.6–1.3 Ma) and 4) the Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola area (6.9–3.2 Ma). Other two mafic volcanic fields may represent the continuation of alkaline volcanism to the southeast: the Middle Miocene lavas at Anegada High, offshore port of Veracruz, and the Middle to Late Miocene volcanism at the Los Tuxtlas. The existence of major Neogene extensional faults parallel to the Gulf of Mexico (i.e., not, vert, similarN–S to NNW–SSE) proposed in previous works was not confirmed by our geological studies. Elongation of volcanic necks, vent alignment, and faults mapped by subsurface data trend dominantly NE to ENE and NW to NNW. These directions are parallel to transform and normal faults that formed during the Late Jurassic opening of the Gulf of Mexico. Ascent of mafic magmas was likely facilitated and controlled by the existence of these pre-existing basement structures. Coupled with previous studies, our data demonstrate the occurrence of three magmatic episodes in Veracruz: 1) A Middle Miocene (not, vert, similar15–11 Ma) episode in southern Veracruz (Palma Sola, Anegada, and Los Tuxtlas); 2) A Late Miocene to Early Pliocene (not, vert, similar7.5–3 Ma) pulse of mafic alkaline volcanism throughout the study region; and 3) A Late Pliocene to Quaternary transitional to calc–alkaline volcanism in southern Veracruz (Palma Sola, Los Tuxtlas). Whereas the first and third episodes may be considered part of the subduction-related Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, the second pulse of mafic alkaline volcanism has a more complex origin. The absence of significant extensional faulting precludes a rift origin. We favor a model in which a transient thermal anomaly and melting of the mantle was triggered by the tearing and detachment of part of the subducted slab.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NIL AREP 2005
Subjects: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
Divisions: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume: 146
Page Range: pp. 284-306
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2005.02.004
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 14 May 2011 10:45
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:58
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/1642

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