Theses Doctoral

Geochemistry of the Tatara-San Pedro continental arc volcanic complex and implications for magmatism in the Chilean Southern Volcanic Zone

Jweda, Jason

Reconnaissance work and high-density sampling of volcanic rocks at the Quaternary Tatara-San Pedro complex (TSPC) in the Southern Volcanic Zone (SVZ) of Chile has yielded one of the most complete eruptive chrono-stratigraphies and comprehensive geochemical datasets of any arc volcano on Earth. The TSPC is a large frontal arc stratovolcano within the SVZ that exhibits a wide compositional diversity of lavas from basalt to rhyolite, covering most of the ranges in major and trace element contents across the SVZ. The TSPC occupies a pivotal position within the SVZ, where it is "intermediate" in terms of geophysical and geochemical characteristics between northern and southern SVZ volcanoes. The large TSPC dataset and stratigraphic control provides a unique opportunity to elucidate magma source heterogeneity and distinguish between contributions from upper mantle, subducted slab, and crust in a volcanic complex overlying relatively thick continental crust. Furthermore, the results of this investigation provide important constraints about the role of various recycled materials in generating the SVZ mantle and implications for along-arc magmatism and geochemical variability. TSPC magmas least impacted by crustal contamination (evolved lavas are filtered out on the basis of > 56 wt.% SiO2 and Rb/Y >1.75) have compositions bounded by three chemically and isotopically distinct mantle-derived end-members. The `prevalent TSPC mantle' end-member, which includes the largest number of analyzed lavas, is interpreted to represent melts of the upper mantle below TSPC that has been modified by long-term subduction. A second end-member shows extreme depletions in incompatible high field strength elements (HFSE) and the lowest concentrations of fluid-immobile incompatible elements, but has the highest aqueous fluid-mobile/immobile element ratios at the volcano (e.g., Sr/Nd and Pb/Ce). The source of these `low HFSE' magmas is `prevalent TSPC mantle' that experienced previous melt extraction, followed by more recent melting due to infiltration of solute-rich fluid from the subducting basaltic Nazca oceanic crust. A third end-member is enriched in incompatible elements and has the lowest Nd-Hf and highest Sr isotope ratios. This `TE enriched' end-member has common chemical characteristics with behind-the-arc basalts, indicating derivation from trace element-enriched behind-the-arc South American mantle that has been advected trenchward into the convecting mantle wedge. Determining the composition and relative input of slab-derived components to the SVZ mantle wedge has remained elusive for the last 2+ decades because of inadequate datasets and the controversial role of crustal contamination within the thick Andean continental crust. The `prevalent TSPC mantle' magmas, which best represent melts of the subduction-modified mantle wedge composition beneath the TSPC, provide important constraints on both the composition of the "pre-subduction" mantle and geochemical modifications by way of subduction. Mass-balance modeling suggests that the source of `prevalent TSPC mantle' magmas has been generated by a two-stage, three component mixing process. Isotopic and trace element evidence indicate that ~7-11% bulk subducted Chilean trench sediment has been added to an `E-MORB-like' pre-subduction mantle composition. This mantle mixture is further infiltrated by ~4% solute-rich fluid derived from the subducted Nazca basaltic oceanic crust. Trace element patterns of end-member `prevalent TSPC mantle' magmas are best fit by a two-stage partial melting model whereby the residual mantle, after a small degree melt extraction (F = 0.1%), undergoes F = 22% partial melting. The high melt fraction appears to potentially correspond with large volumes of solute-rich fluid released from the subducted Mocha Fracture Zone (MFZ). Although geochemical attributes of mafic TSPC magmas suggest that they are all derived from the same general mantle framework operating below the complex, one lava sequence appears to deviate. The mantle origins of the Upper Placeta San Pedro Sequence (UPSPS) have remained elusive since first being studied. It is a well-characterized basaltic lava series that erupted over a short interval at ~235-240 ka with highly variable incompatible element abundances and a large xenocrystic cargo. The new comprehensive chemical and radiogenic isotope (Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf) dataset, along with stratigraphic control and understanding of the larger-scale geochemical variability at the TSPC, provides fresh perspectives about the mantle sources and evolution of UPSPS magmas. While the UPSPS magmas are derived from the same sources as other TSPC magmas, they have undergone a unique petrogenetic evolution. This is evident from decoupled trace element-isotopic trends that are difficult to reconcile with other mafic TSPC magmas. Based on the Nd-Hf isotope ratios and trace element ratios, the two UPSPS unit magmas are derived from depleted-`TE enriched' and `prevalent TSPC mantle' sources. High ratios of aqueous fluid-mobile/immobile elements, such as high Pb/Ce and Sr/Nd, as well distinctive Sr and Pb isotope ratios, indicate that the UPSPS magmas were generated through fluxing of the mantle wedge, already depleted by melt removal by an solute-rich fluid derived from the subducted Pacific oceanic crust as well as the overlying trench sediment, which caused it to melt.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Goldstein, Steven L.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 9, 2014