Magma Evolution of the Cerro Bayo Laccolith in the Chachahuén Volcanic Complex, Argentina

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: The Chachahuén volcanic complex, with the Cerro Bayo laccolith as one of the largest intrusions, is part of back-arc Payenia volcanic province in western central Argentina. Laccoliths show potential for generating oil in sedimentary basins and producing ore deposits. It is crucial to put more effort into understanding the magma plumbing system beneath the Chachahuén volcanic complex, which the Cerro Bayo laccolith is part of. Thus this project present the first thermobarometric modelling for the Cerro Bayo laccolith and the Chachahuén volcanic complex. Several thermometers and barometers were applied to plagioclase, amphibole and clinopyroxene to understand magma evolution in the underlying plumbing system. The dacitic to rhyodacitic laccolith rocks from Cerro Bayo have porphyric textures with plagioclase in the form of both clots (glomerocrysts) and single crystals, amphibole and clinopyroxene as main phenocrysts, while enclaves are more mafic in composition and have equigranular textures. Plagioclase in the sample varies from andesine to labradorite with a composition of An22-An68, while the clinopyroxene can be classified into diopside to augite with cores (Mg#=76-84) and rims (Mg#62-72). Amphibole, varies from pargasite, ferropargasite to magesiohastingsite and hastingsite, which can be grouped into three groups according to the Mg#: low Mg# amphibole (Mg# = 40-51), medium Mg# amphibole (Mg# = 52-61) and high Mg# amphibole (Mg# = 62-78). Besides, most of the Fe-Ti oxides in the samples are titanomagnetite with Usp mol.% in the range of 0.04-0.54. Results from clinopyroxene-liquid thermobarometers suggest a crystallization depth of 44 to 51 km for clinopyroxene cores and a crystallization depth of 19 to 31 km for rims, of which the derived crystallization temperatures are in the range of 1144 to 1170 °C and 973 to 1002 °C respectively. On the other hand, different thermobarometers of amphibole give consistent results of crystallization temperatures and depths. According to the amphibole-liquid thermometer, low Mg# (Mg#= 40-51) amphiboles have the lowest crystallization temperature in the range of 898 to 931°C, while medium Mg# (Mg#=52-61) amphiboles have higher crystallization temperatures in the range of 951 to 972°C and high Mg# (Mg# = 62-78) amphiboles have highest crystallization temperatures between 991 and 1013°C. The depth translated from pressure derived from amphibole-liquid barometers give a shallower crystallization depth range from 19 to 30 km for low Mg# amphiboles, a deeper crystallization depth in the range of 22 to 39 km for high Mg# amphiboles and deepest crystallization depth range of 27 to 41 km for medium Mg# amphiboles. Moreover, a depth from 2 to 20 km could be gained from the plagioclase-liquid thermobarometry which crystallized at 883 to 910°C. It is worth to point out that crystallization depth of clinopyroxene cores is deeper than the Moho in the Chachahuén area, while crystallization depth and temperatures of clinopyroxene rims are consistent with those of high Mg# amphiboles. Consistent temperatures and depths are also found for crystallization of plagioclase and low Mg# amphiboles which intergrow with each other. Thus, a multi-level magma plumbing system began from below the Moho, with a mushy zone in the upper crust, could be suggested to exist beneath the Cerro Bayo laccolith. Evidence from both petrology and geochemistry also indicate fractional crystallization as well as processes of magma mixing and recharge during magma evolution.

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