Detrital record of the late Oligocene – Early Miocene mafic volcanic arc in the southern Patagonian Andes (~51 °S) from single-clast geochronology and trace element geochemistry

Journal of Geodynamics
By: , and 

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Abstract

Retroarc foreland basins are important archives of continental arc magmatism and upper plate deformational processes that control the evolution of continental lithosphere. However, resolving source areas in foreland basin infill dominated from mixed mafic and recycled sediment using conventional methods such as detrital zircon geochronology poses a challenge to thorough analysis due to lower zircon fertility and the higher susceptibility to weathering of mafic lithologies. Here, we integrate whole rock 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and major and trace element geochemistry data from volcanic clasts from the lower Miocene infill of the Magallanes-Austral Basin and local Sierra Baguales intrusive rocks to understand the distribution of mafic sources and Neogene changes in arc magmatism in between multiple ridge subduction events in the southern Patagonian Andes. Potential source areas for the coarse-grained mafic detritus include the Eocene plateau lavas, the Late Jurassic-Miocene Southern Patagonian batholith, and the Late Jurassic Sarmiento Ophiolitic Complex. Published detrital zircon U-Pb age spectra suggest that all three sources are viable contributors to the basin, though the paucity of Jurassic and Eocene zircons preclude these as major sources. Here, new 40Ar/39Ar dating of the volcanic clasts from the early Miocene Río Guillermo Formation reveals latest Oligocene to early Miocene eruptive ages (∼25-22 Ma), indicating syndepositional eruption with the ancestral Río Guillermo fluvial sedimentation. A single dated clast yields a Late Cretaceous age (∼102 Ma). The clasts are dominantly basaltic andesite with Ba/Ta ∼500-1000, La/Ta >20, and Ba/La >15, indicating an arc-derived melt source. We propose that the clasts record a Miocene mafic continental arc source area in the Patagonian Andes, which has since been removed by erosion and is thus sparsely represented in the batholith. Furthermore, we suggest that this early Miocene phase of arc volcanism, which postdates Eocene and Oligocene backarc magmatism and pre-dates middle Miocene to recent Chile Ridge backarc magmatism, reflects a return to normal arc volcanism along the Patagonian margin following a cessation due to ridge subduction and subsequent slab window migration. New geochemistry and 40Ar/39Ar data from a basaltic dike in the Sierra Baguales, which crosscuts the Cenozoic stratigraphic section, records plateau magmatism ∼16 Ma associated with incipient Chile Ridge slab window volcanism.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Detrital record of the late Oligocene – Early Miocene mafic volcanic arc in the southern Patagonian Andes (~51 °S) from single-clast geochronology and trace element geochemistry
Series title Journal of Geodynamics
DOI 10.1016/j.jog.2020.101751
Volume 138
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center
Description 1001751, 15 p.
Country Argentina, Chile
Other Geospatial Patagonian Andes
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