Effects of hydrothermal alteration on the magnetization of the Oligocene Carpenter Ridge Tuff, Bachelor Caldera, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By: , and 



Intracaldera Oligocene Carpenter Ridge Tuff fills the Bachelor caldera in the central San Juan caldera complex and hosts mineral deposits of the Creede mineral district. The Carpenter Ridge Tuff and unaltered portions of its intracaldera Bachelor Mountain Member, have strong, high‐coercivity, reverse magnetizations with average magnetic susceptibility (MS) and natural remanent magnetization (NRM) of 6 × 10−3 volume SI and 8 A/m, respectively. Oxide phenocrysts in these rocks are titanomagnetite and ilmenite; however, magnetization appears to be controlled by microcrystic titanomaghemite based on thermal demagnetization unblocking temperatures and Curie temperatures between 580°C and 620°C. Much of the intracaldera tuff was affected by potassic metasomatism, a type of hydrothermal alteration characterized by addition of K and loss of Ca and Na, between 27.3 Ma and 25.1 Ma. Potassic metasomatism resulted in the replacement of original feldspars by potassium feldspar and quartz, oxidation of the original oxide phenocrysts to hematite and rutile, and consequent suppression of MS and NRM by a factor of 5. Also present, however, are metasomatized rocks that have high magnetizations even though their original oxide phenocrysts were destroyed; values of MS and NRM are similar to those of outflow tuff. Such rocks are suspected of containing secondary magnetite on the basis of (1) Curie and thermal unblocking temperatures at and below 580°C, indicating that magnetization is carried by magnetite but that primary microcrysts of maghemite were destroyed, and (2) observation in one sample of magnetite rimming cores of hematite+rutile. The presence of secondary magnetite in metasomatized rocks requires a local shift to more reducing fluid chemistry, although we are unable to determine whether this shift occurred during potassic metasomatism or during later alteration or ore deposition. These altered rocks may record a change from a pervasive alteration by alkaline, oxidizing fluids to a vein‐controlled alteration dominated by more reduced fluids in which magnetite was stable.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of hydrothermal alteration on the magnetization of the Oligocene Carpenter Ridge Tuff, Bachelor Caldera, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1029/93JB00014
Volume 98
Issue B4
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 12 p.
First page 6255
Last page 6266
Country United States
State Colorado
City Bachelor Caldera, San Juan Mountains
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