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Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284 – 306

Geology, geochronology and tectonic setting of late Cenozoic

volcanism along the southwestern Gulf of Mexico: The Eastern
Alkaline Province revisited
Luca Ferraria,T, Takahiro Tagamib, Mugihiko Eguchib, Ma. Teresa Orozco-Esquivela,
Chiara M. Petronec, Jorge Jacobo-Albarránd, Margarita López-Martı́neze
Centro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Juriquilla, Qro. Apdo. Postal 1-742,
Centro, 76000 Querétaro, Qro., Mexico
Department of Geology and Mineralogy, Division of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan
Dipartimento Scienze della Terra, Universitá degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo, Mexico D.F., Mexico
Departamento de Geologı́a, Centro de Investigación Cientı́fica y Educación Superior de Ensenada, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
Received 22 March 2004; received in revised form 10 February 2005; accepted 28 February 2005


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 bEastern Alkaline ProvinceQ (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., ~N–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.

T Corresponding author. Tel.: +52 442 238 1104x177; fax: +52 442 238 1129.
E-mail address: (L. Ferrari).

0377-0273/$ - see front matter D 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 285

Coupled with previous studies, our data demonstrate the occurrence of three magmatic episodes in Veracruz: 1) A Middle
Miocene (~15–11 Ma) episode in southern Veracruz (Palma Sola, Anegada, and Los Tuxtlas); 2) A Late Miocene to Early
Pliocene (~7.5–3 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.
D 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: alkaline volcanism; tectonics; eastern Mexico; Gulf of Mexico; geochronology; late Cenozoic

1. Introduction Robin (1982) model, the EAP would be the result of

Gulf-parallel extensional faulting and would be
In the early days of the plate tectonics theory, the unrelated to the subduction of the Cocos plate;
occurrence of alkaline volcanism was generally however he reported that during the Pliocene the
related to intra-plate tectonic settings distinct from products of alkaline volcanism alternated with arc-
convergent plate boundaries. In recent decades, related lavas of the eastern TMVB in the Veracruz
however, alkaline volcanism has been recognized in region. Subsequent geochemical and isotope studies
virtually every tectonic environment, including many questioned this model, at least for the southernmost
continental volcanic arcs worldwide (see Lange and part of the EAP. Besch et al. (1988) and López-
Carmichael, 1991, for a review). Alkaline volcanism Infanzon (1991) show that the Chiconquiaco–Palma
at convergent plate boundaries has been inferred to be Sola volcanic field has a geochemical imprint of fluids
associated with slab-induced asthenospheric corner from the subducting plate. Gómez-Tuena et al. (2003)
flow (Toksöz and Bird, 1977), slab-window formation provided a more detailed petrologic study of the three
(Dickinson and Snyder, 1979; Hole et al., 1995), slab volcanic successions of this area. They interpret the
roll-back (Furlong et al., 1982), and combination of chemical and isotopic characteristics of the Neogene
slab windows and mantle plumes (e.g., Abratis and volcanism at Palma Sola as controlled by variation in
Worner, 2001). time of the depth of the subducting Cocos slab.
Cenozoic alkaline volcanism is widespread in Similarly Nelson et al. (1995) recognized a variable
eastern Mexico but its relation with the southern subduction signal for the Los Tuxtlas volcanic field,
Mexico subduction zone (Fig. 1) is unclear. A roughly for which they suggest an analogy with lavas erupted
north–south belt of Tertiary mafic alkaline volcanic in back-arc settings in Japan and the Andes. Such data
fields runs from the U.S. border to the southern would indicate that at least part of the EAP could
Veracruz State (Fig. 1), intersecting the subduction- represent the continuation of the arc volcanism of the
related Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) (Ferrari TMVB toward the southeast (Fig. 1). If so, the mere
et al., 1999) in central Veracruz. Spanning over 1500 existence of a single volcanic province would be
km in length, this zone of mafic volcanism constitutes under question. However, with the notable exception
a prominent feature in the geology and geomorphol- of the Los Tuxtlas volcanic field (Nelson and
ogy of eastern Mexico, which otherwise is dominated González-Caver, 1992), after the Robin (1982) syn-
by Mesozoic to early Tertiary marine and late Tertiary thesis the rest of the EAP has remained largely
nonmarine sedimentary successions. Robin (1976, unstudied geologically and geochronologically.
1982) defined the belt of mafic alkaline volcanism In an attempt to better define the time and space
as the bEastern Alkaline ProvinceQ (EAP hereafter) evolution of the mafic alkaline volcanism in eastern
and, based on a number of conventional K–Ar datings Mexico, and to understand its relation with the
and mostly major elements geochemistry, suggested TMVB, we undertook a geologic, geochronologic
that it represented intraplate-type volcanism migrating and petrologic study of the southern half of this
from north to south from Oligocene to Present. In the province. In this paper we summarize the geologic
286 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

Fig. 1. Geodynamic map of Mexico showing the alkaline volcanism of eastern Mexico, the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (adapted from Ferrari,
2004), and the present configuration of plates. The Eastern Alkaline Province of Robin (1982), includes the following volcanic fields: Sierra de
San Carlos (SC), Sierra de Tamaulipas (ST), Tlanchinol–Tantima–Alamo (TTA), Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola (CP), Anegada High (AH), and Los
Tuxtlas (LT). PV = Puerto Vallarta; Gdl = Guadalajara.

setting and present an extensive geochronologic study main pulses of activity. Five intrusive rocks were
of the products of mafic volcanism exposed in also dated to determine the initiation of magmatism
Veracruz state. Our new fieldwork, 49 unspiked K– in the Palma Sola area. Our study focused on areas
Ar ages and two 40Ar/39Ar ages, indicate that without previous reported ages, or where previous
volcanism throughout the southern EAP commenced ages seemed to be inconsistent with the stratigraphy.
pene-contemporaneously at ~7 Ma, peaked at differ- Tables 1 and 2 list the sampling localities and the
ent times, and, locally, continued until the Quaternary. analytical data. Samples were collected from road-
Together with a petrologic study (Orozco-Esquivel et cuts or from large blocks broken from lava-flow
al., 2003 submitted) these data allow us to propose a scarps using a sledgehammer. Most of the samples
new model for the genesis of the late Miocene to are aphyric and none contains plagioclase phenoc-
Pliocene alkaline volcanism in eastern Mexico. rysts. On the basis of visual observation, petro-
graphic studies, and whole-rock water content (LOI),
the freshest rocks were selected for dating. For each
2. Sampling and analytical procedure sample, about 100 g of fresh rocks were crushed in a
stainless steel mortar and sieved to 30-60 mesh. The
Forty-six lavas were dated in an attempt to sieved samples were washed first with deionized
elucidate the regional pattern of volcanism and the water and then with acetone in an ultrasonic cleaner
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 287

Table 1
Locations and K–Ar ages of samples dated in this study
Sample number Site Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Altitude (m) K–Ar age (Ma)
with error
Poza Rica–Metlatoyuca flows
EAP 1 3 km W of Poza Rica airport 20.595 97.475 58 1.53 F 0.03
EAP 2 Plateau bLa MesaQ, road from Santa Cruz 20.508 97.556 232 1.62 F 0.05
EAP 4 Road Lazaro Cardenas–Mecapalapa 20.512 97.822 389 1.31 F 0.03
EAP 6 W of Xicotepec 20.315 97.869 562 1.43 F 0.03
EAP 8 Lazaro Cardenas plateau 20.464 97.710 362 1.64 F 0.06
EAP 9 E of Emiliano Zapata 20.554 97.519 123 1.53 F 0.08
EAP 11 Plateau bLa PitaQ 20.902 97.861 116 1.61 F 0.10
EAP 12 Plateau bLa PitaQ 20.856 97.862 127 1.60 F 0.06
EAP 14 Plateau bCacahuatengoQ 20.815 97.902 131 1.39 F 0.14
EAP 15 Plateau bMetlatoyucaQ 20.807 97.854 227 1.40 F 0.05

Alamo volcanic field and Sierra de Tantima

EAP 10 Cerro Sombrerete 20.902 97.813 147 7.56 F 0.15
EAP 16 Cerro Cacalote 21.086 97.826 303 7.02 F 0.16
EAP 17 Neck near La Guasima 21.110 97.833 308 6.66 F 0.12
EAP 18 Neck south of Tepetzintla 21.152 97.838 404 6.69 F 0.41
EAP 19 Neck near Tierra Blanca 21.154 97.920 308 6.74 F 0.14
EAP 20 Cerro El Espinal 21.056 97.982 149 7.33 F 0.13
EAP 21 Cerro Tlacolula near Zapotal Espinal 21.040 97.971 156 7.11 F 0.16
EAP 22 Cerro El Cañón 21.050 97.913 163 7.32 F 0.15
EAP 23 Cerro Moralillo 21.189 97.814 239 7.12 F 0.14
EAP 24 Neck W of San Felipe 21.162 97.792 202 7.12 F 0.14
EAP 25 Cerro El Pelón 21.200 97.856 365 9.04 F 0.16
EAP 26 San Juan Otontepec, Sierra Tantima 21.223 97.944 473 6.91 F 0.11
EAP 27 S of Tantima village, Sierra Tantima 21.324 97.833 650 6.57 F 0.12
EAP 28 S of Tantima village, Sierra Tantima 21.324 97.833 560 6.75 F 0.09

Tlanchinol flows
EAP 30 Plateau Huautla 21.069 98.253 470 2.82 F 0.16
EAP 31 Plateau Zihuapiltepetl 21.075 98.538 715 5.72 F 0.13
EAP 33 SW of Huejuetla 21.023 98.610 1200 7.33 F 0.13
EAP 36 S of Tlanchinol 20.941 98.687 1473 7.30 F 0.13

Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola area

EAP 39 Alto de Tı́o Diego 19.620 96.758 1134 2.04 F 0.04
EAP 41 Mafafas–Tepetlan 19.667 96.772 1426 3.18 F 0.06
EAP 42 Mafafas–Tepetlan 19.668 96.775 1371 3.25 F 0.06
EAP 43 Alto Lucero–Enrı́quez 19.660 96.739 1270 1.97 F 0.04
EAP 44 El Madroño 19.700 96.674 1207 3.22 F 0.06
EAP 45 South of Plan de las Hayas 19.735 96.667 1152 14.65 F 0.32
EAP 46 Paz de Enrı́quez 19.811 96.824 1611 3.37 F 0.06
EAP 47 Paz de Enrı́quez 19.843 96.816 1326 3.38 F 0.06
EAP 48 Junique 19.839 96.703 367 15.62 F 0.50
EAP 49 La Esperanza 19.777 96.658 760 6.93 F 0.16
EAP 50 Plan de Las Hayas 19.767 96.621 815 3.85 F 0.07
EAP 51 Rı́o Vado 19.766 96.559 585 3.50 F 0.07
EAP 52 El Vencedor 19.934 96.664 418 4.03 F 0.07
EAP 53 Paso del Toro 19.922 96.608 231 3.53 F 0.05
EAP 54 Rancho NuevoJuan Martı́n 19.882 96.590 586 3.27 F 0.04
EAP 55 Cerro Cantera (Metates) 19.670 96.415 141 7.48 F 0.13
(continued on next page)
288 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

Table 1 (continued)
Sample number Site Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Altitude (m) K–Ar age (Ma)
with error
Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola area
EAP 56 Mesa de 24 19.712 96.547 564 3.51 F 0.06
EAP 57 El Limón 19.646 96.540 429 11.07 F 0.20
EAP 58 Rı́o Actopan 19.497 96.583 222 1.92 F 0.18
EAP 59 Plan del Rı́o 19.402 96.647 342 2.23 F 0.05

to remove adhered fine grains. Phenocrysts were correction procedure (Matsumoto and Kobayashi,
removed from the fraction using a Frantz isodynamic 1995) in cases where the uncorrected value deviated
magnetic separator and handpicking to minimize the from the actual value by N1%. If single-stage
possible influence of excess argon (Takaoka, 1989; fractionation is assumed, the difference between
Matsumoto et al., 1989). An aliquot of each sample corrected and uncorrected ages of a sample is less
was ground further by an automatic agate mortar for than 1% when the air contamination is less than 16%.
potassium analysis. Sample C-1 was analyzed by the conventional
Potassium concentrations were measured by flame K–Ar method in 1990 in the Instituto Mexicano del
emission photometry, with lithium internal standard Petroleo, Mexico city by J. Jacobo-Albarrán and the
and peak integration method (Matsumoto, 1989). result of the experiment is reported in Table 3.
Analysis was performed at the Kyoto University All K–Ar ages were calculated using the isotopic
geochronology laboratory using a FP-33D flame abundances and decay constants for 40K recommen-
emission photometer, made by Hekisa Kagaku Co., ded by the IUGS Subcommission on Geochronology
Japan. About 100 mg of sample was used for each (Steiger and Jäger, 1977; k e = 0.581  10 10 y 1,
analysis. See Matsumoto (1989) for the details of k h = 4.962  10 10 y 1, 40K / K = 1.167  10 4).
handling procedures. Samples PS-99-21 and LH 1718 were dated by the
Precision and accuracy of the potassium determi- Ar–39Ar method at CICESE’s geochronology labo-
nations was established through the analysis, under ratory using a MS-10 mass spectrometer; details on
identical analytical conditions, of Geological Survey the methodology are given in Ferrari et al. (2002). The
of Japan (GSJ) standards JA-2 and JB-3 (Ando et al., samples were analyzed in duplicate using the step-
1989; Matsumoto, 1989). The estimated precision and heating technique. Five to six fractions were collected
accuracy of the sample data is thus ~1% (1 sigma), between 950 and 1350 8C. The results are given in
which is propagated to determine the analytical Table 4 and Fig. 6. For sample PS-99-21, a
uncertainty of the K–Ar age. plagioclase concentrate was analyzed. Due to prob-
Argon isotopic measurements were performed by lems with the data-acquisition system, the first two
peak-height comparison method (Matsumoto et al., fractions collected on sample PS-99-21 (labeled 1 and
1989; Sudo et al., 1996). Analysis was made at the 2 in the age spectra) are not considered reliable (see
Kyoto University geochronology laboratory with a VG Fig. 6). Nonetheless, the results of the duplicate
3600 mass spectrometer operated in the static mode, experiments yielded reproducible results with inte-
connected to extraction and purification lines made by grated ages of 12.5 F 1.6 Ma and 12.1 F 0.6 Ma. The
Ayumi Co. Ltd., Japan. The extraction and analysis slightly bUQ-shaped age spectrum suggests the pres-
system as well as the techniques used for argon ence of excess argon, which is confirmed by the
isotopic measurements are described by Sudo et al. isochron age of 10.9 F 0.8 Ma calculated from the
(1996). The standard air, calibrated using Sori 93 Ar/40Ar vs. 39Ar/40Ar correlation diagram with the
biotite standard (Sudo et al., 1998), and hot blank were combined fractions of the duplicate experiments,
measured periodically during the experiments for excluding fractions 1 and 2. We then take the isochron
system sensitivity, mass discrimination and back- age as our best estimate for the age of sample PS-99-
ground corrections. To obtain the accurate content of 21. For sample LH 1718, two experiments were
radiogenic 40Ar, we applied a mass-fractionation performed using a biotite concentrate, and these
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 289

Table 2
Analytical data of K–Ar ages obtained with the unspiked sensitivity method at the Kyoto University geochronology laboratory
Sample Weight K2O Ar/36Ar 40
Ar/36Ar 40
Ar/36Ar 40
Ar rad 40
Ar atm K–Ar age
number (g) (wt.%) initial (10 8 cm3 STP/g) (%) (Ma)
Poza Rica and Metlatoyuca flows
EAP 1-3 3.8634 0.87 0.1866 F 0.0006 561.1 F 0.9 294.6 F 1.9 4.290 F 0.072 52.5 1.53 F 0.03
EAP 2-2 1.5552 1.24 0.1880 F 0.0007 380.2 F 0.6 298.8 F 2.2 6.485 F 0.206 78.6 1.62 F 0.05
EAP 4-3 3.0549 0.99 0.1855 F 0.0008 426.2 F 0.7 291.2 F 2.5 4.199 F 0.101 68.3 1.31 F 0.03
EAP 6-2 3.0000 1.00 0.1866 F 0.0007 455.2 F 0.7 294.6 F 2.2 4.595 F 0.094 64.7 1.43 F 0.03
EAP 8-2 1.5060 1.25 0.1883 F 0.0006 367.8 F 0.6 299.8 F 1.9 6.647 F 0.217 81.5 1.64 F 0.06
EAP 9-2 1.5237 0.80 0.1870 F 0.0008 349.1 F 0.6 295.8 F 2.6 3.966 F 0.209 84.7 1.53 F 0.08
EAP 11 0.7585 0.91 0.1873 F 0.0006 329.4 F 0.5 296.9 F 1.9 4.723 F 0.294 90.1 1.61 F 0.10
EAP 12-2 1.6327 0.89 0.1859 F 0.0006 352.2 F 0.6 292.5 F 1.9 4.599 F 0.166 83.0 1.60 F 0.06
EAP 14-2 1.4849 0.87 0.1880 F 0.0006 319.3 F 0.5 299.0 F 1.9 3.903 F 0.383 93.6 1.39 F 0.14
EAP 15-2 2.2867 0.86 0.1878 F 0.0006 362.8 F 0.6 298.3 F 1.9 3.865 F 0.132 82.2 1.40 F 0.05

Alamo volcanic field and Sierra de Tantima

EAP 10 0.7454 1.42 0.1864 F 0.0006 582.3 F 0.9 294.1 F1.9 34.791 F 0.573 50.5 7.56 F 0.15
EAP 16 0.7704 1.27 0.1861 F 0.0006 443.2 F 0.7 293.1 F1.9 28.734 F 0.575 66.1 7.02 F 0.16
EAP 17 0.7899 1.52 0.1875 F 0.0009 877.7 F 2.3 295.5 32.670 F 0.492 33.7 6.66 F 0.12
EAP 18-3 0.1642 1.96 0.1878 F 0.0006 332.6 F 0.5 298.1 F 2.0 42.453 F 2.559 89.6 6.69 F 0.41
EAP 19-2 1.5342 0.93 0.1856 F 0.0006 468.2 F 0.7 291.6 F 1.9 20.310 F 0.378 62.3 6.74 F 0.14
EAP 20-2 0.7748 1.75 0.1881 F 0.0007 739.4 F 1.2 295.5 41.570 F 0.625 40.0 7.33 F 0.13
EAP 21 0.7526 1.34 0.1878 F 0.0007 486.1 F 0.8 298.2 F 2.4 30.764 F 0.611 61.3 7.11 F 0.16
EAP 22-2 0.7708 1.60 0.1880 F 0.0006 514.9 F 0.8 298.9 F 1.9 37.887 F 0.666 58.0 7.32 F 0.15
EAP 23 0.7639 1.17 0.1860 F 0.0006 519.4 F 0.8 292.8 F 1.9 27.030 F 0.468 56.4 7.12 F 0.14
EAP 24-2 0.7416 1.67 0.1868 F 0.0006 537.6 F 0.9 295.2 F 1.9 38.445 F 0.658 54.9 7.12 F 0.14
EAP 25-2 0.5004 1.58 0.1868 F 0.0006 419.5 F 0.7 295.1 F1.9 45.800 F 0.997 70.3 8.97 F 0.21
EAP 25-3 0.5096 1.58 0.1877 F 0.0006 416.1 F 0.7 297.9 F 1.9 46.584 F 1.045 71.6 9.12 F 0.22
Weighted mean 9.04 F 0.16
EAP 26-2 0.7524 1.05 0.1878 F 0.0006 458.1 F 0.7 296.3 F 2.3 23.509 F 0.477 62.9 6.93 F 0.16
EAP 26-3 0.8062 1.05 0.1876 F 0.0008 532.5 F 0.9 299.2 F 3.6 23.379 F 0.488 54.3 6.89 F 0.16
Weighted mean 6.91 F 0.11
EAP 27-2 1.2206 1.06 0.1860 F 0.0009 674.3 F 1.3 295.5 22.409 F 0.338 43.8 6.57 F 0.12
EAP 28-2 0.8074 1.59 0.1860 F 0.0006 555.0 F 0.9 290.662 F 2.6 34.877 F 0.613 50.5 6.77 F 0.14
EAP 28-3 0.8014 1.59 0.1836 F 0.0008 634.6 F 1.1 295.5 34.669 F 0.524 44.7 6.73 F 0.12
Weighted mean 6.75 F 0.09

Tlanchinol flows
EAP 30-2 0.5021 0.96 0.1866 F 0.0006 332.0 F 0.7 294.6 F 1.9 8.761 F 0.486 88.7 2.82 F 0.16
EAP 31 1.5292 0.99 0.1875 F 0.0006 441.2 F 0.7 297.4 F 1.9 18.335 F 0.373 67.4 5.72 F 0.13
EAP 33 1.5183 1.18 0.1869 F 0.0006 1391.2 F 2.2 295.5 27.943 F 0.419 21.2 7.33 F 0.13
EAP 36-2 0.7924 1.66 0.1869 F 0.0009 788.0 F 1.4 295.5 39.249 F 0.590 37.5 7.30 F 0.13

Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola area

Intrusive rocks
EAP45 0.5311 1.19 0.1856 F 0.0008 517.5 F 1.4 291.6 F 2.6 56.648 F 1.084 56.4 14.65 F 0.32
EAP48 0.2580 1.26 0.1859 F 0.0006 367.0 F 0.6 292.4 F 1.9 64.052 F 1.934 79.7 15.62 F 0.50
EAP57 0.5114 2.13 0.1867 F 0.0011 1093.4 F 2.6 295.5 76.256 F 1.146 27.0 11.07 F 0.20

Chiconquiaco plateau
EAP39 2.2640 3.49 0.1844 F 0.0006 1393.7 F 4.2 295.5 22.951 F 0.345 21.2 2.04 F 0.04
EAP41 1.5412 2.61 0.1842 F 0.0009 1247.5 F 3.1 295.5 26.760 F 0.402 23.7 3.18 F 0.06
EAP42 1.5096 2.06 0.1865 F 0.0014 1090.4 F 2.3 295.5 21.654 F 0.325 27.1 3.25 F 0.06
EAP43 1.5580 2.20 0.1849 F 0.0006 548.9 F 0.9 289.4 F 2.1 14.346 F 0.245 52.7 1.97 F 0.04
(continued on next page)
290 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

Table 2 (continued)
Sample Weight K2 O Ar/36Ar 40
Ar/36Ar 40
Ar/36Ar 40
Ar rad 40
Ar atm K–Ar age
number (g) (wt.%) initial (10 8 cm3 STP/g) (%) (Ma)
Chiconquiaco plateau
EAP44 1.5655 1.26 0.1854 F 0.0013 881.2 F 2.4 295.5 13.165 F 0.198 33.5 3.22 F 0.06
EAP46 1.5550 1.27 0.1859 F 0.0014 737.1 F1.4 295.5 13.817 F 0.208 40.1 3.37 F 0.06
EAP47 1.5525 1.60 0.1837 F 0.0015 1055.9 F 2.1 295.5 17.456 F 0.262 28.0 3.38 F 0.06
EAP49 0.7649 1.45 0.1867 F 0.0006 442.1 F 0.7 294.9 F 2 32.435 F 0.669 66.7 6.93 F 0.16
EAP50 1.5932 1.62 0.1828 F 0.0014 1197.8 F 2.2 295.5 20.167 F 0.303 24.7 3.85 F 0.07
EAP51 1.5079 1.20 0.1832 F 0.0007 505.5 F 0.8 284.3 F 2.2 13.534 F 0.244 56.2 3.50 F 0.07
EAP52 0.7760 2.02 0.1869 F 0.0020 1129.2 F 3.9 295.5 26.353 F 0.397 26.2 4.03 F 0.07
EAP53 1.5378 1.05 0.1846 F 0.0016 888.4 F 2.4 295.5 11.975 F 0.180 33.3 3.52 F 0.06
EAP53 2.2857 1.05 0.1868 F 0.0012 881.3 F 1.6 295.5 12.019 F 0.181 33.5 3.54 F 0.06
Weighted mean 3.53 F 0.05
EAP54 2.3118 0.86 0.1855 F 0.0008 797.2 F 2.5 295.5 9.006 F 0.136 37.1 3.24 F 0.06
EAP54 3.0552 0.86 0.1874 F 0.0007 777.4 F 1.7 295.5 9.185 F 0.138 38.0 3.30 F 0.06
Weighted mean 3.27 F 0.04
EAP55 0.7567 2.63 0.1850 F 0.0006 821.1 F1.3 295.5 63.674 F 0.957 36.0 7.48 F 0.13
EAP56 1.5621 1.30 0.1850 F 0.0016 922.7 F 2.5 295.5 14.685 F 0.221 32.0 3.51 F 0.06
EAP58 0.7976 0.67 0.1867 F 0.0006 316.6 F 0.7 294.8 F 1.9 4.155 F 0.392 93.1 1.92 F 0.18
EAP59 1.5277 2.82 0.1841 F 0.0006 425.9 F 0.7 286.9 F 1.9 20.239 F 0.415 67.4 2.23 F 0.05
Analytical error reported as 1r. bWeightQ indicates the amount of rock powder used for Ar measurements.

yielded reproducible results, with statistically undis- 3.1. Sierra de Tantima and Alamo monogenetic
tinguishable plateau ages defined by more than 90% volcanic field
of the 39Ar released. The 37ArCa/39ArK diagram
mimics the bUQ-shaped age spectra. Our best age Sierra de Tantima is a 19-km long, 5-km wide, and
estimate for sample LH 1718 is 4.0 F 0.1 Ma, taken 1320 m-high mountain with a marked NE alignment
from the isochron age calculated with the combined that rises from the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico
fractions of the two experiments performed with this (Fig. 3). At its center, it consists of a 700 m-thick
sample. succession of mafic lavas flows with negligible dip
that cover early Tertiary sandstones and shales. The
flows are typically 2–10 m thick but, toward the top of
3. Geologic setting and geochronological results the succession, they can attain a thickness of up to 20
m. Lavas are aphyric to microporphyritic, olivine,
In this section, we provide a geologic description clinopyroxene and plagioclase being the most abun-
of the volcanic fields that compose the southern EAP dant minerals. Compositionally, they range from
within the context of the ages obtained in this work as basanite to hawaiite (Fig. 2). No ages were previously
well as those published previously. The new geo- available for this volcanic edifice, so we dated three
chronological data are presented in Tables 1 and 2. samples (EAP 26, 27 and 28) by the K–Ar unspiked
Major-element analyses were used to characterize the method. Ages range from 6.91 F 0.11 to 6.57 F 0.12
chemical composition of the dated lavas (Fig. 2). The Ma (Table 2). Sample EAP 26 (6.91 F 0.11 Ma)
volcanic fields are described below from north to comes from the lower part of the succession in the
south. southwestern part of Sierra de Tantima. The other two

Table 3
Analytical data of K–Ar age obtained for core N-1 at well C-1 at Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo
40 40 40
Location Average % K Ar* (mol/g) K (mol/g) Ar*/40K % Rad Age (Ma)
 11 8
Offshore Villa Zempoala 3.25 4.14  10 9.73  10 4.25 E 4 49 7.3 F 0.73
The well is located east of Villa Zempoala (Fig. 5) at 96.3208 W, 19.3728 N.
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 291

Table 4
Ar–39Ar results for samples from the Chiconquiaco–Palma area
Sample t i(Ma) t p(Ma) t c(Ma) (40Ar/36Ar)i MSWD/n J  10 3 Temp % 39
Ar t(Ma) 37
ArCa / % 40
(8C) ArK
PS 99-21 12.5 F 1.6 10 F 2 310 F 14 0.02 / 5 4.97 F 0.03 950z 21.3 14 F 5 9.4 84.9
plagioclase 1000z 12.9 12 F 6 5.8 70.7
1150 21.4 11 F 2 2.8 73.6
1250 28.7 12 F 2 3.7 75.4
1350 15.7 15 F 3 9.8 87.7
PS 99-21 12.1 F 0.6 11.0 F 0.9 304 F 6 0.04 / 5 4.97 F 0.03 850 13.0 14 F 2 9.6 88.9
plagioclase 1000 18.7 11.8 F 1.2 7.8 68.8
1150 23.0 11.3 F 1.0 2.9 66.6
1250 29.5 11.8 F 0.8 3.8 68.0
1350 15.8 12.7 F 1.7 9.4 82.4
10.9 F 0.8y 305 F 5 0.07 / 8
LH 1718 4.5 F 0.2 4.3 F 0.2 4.2 F 0.2 304 F 4 0.06 / 6 2.07 F 0.04 850 1.8 10 F 4 2.0 94.0
biotite 1050 35.2 4.5 F 0.2§ 0.09 66.1
1125 19.9 4.3 F 0.3§ 0.06 40.8
1175 22.1 4.3 F 0.3§ 0.04 27.7
1225 19.7 4.3 F 0.3§ 0.24 38.1
1350 1.3 11 F 5 6.3 96.2
LH 1718 4.3 F 0.2 4.1 F 0.1 4.0 F 0.1 308 F 14 0.08 / 6 2.07 F 0.04 900 3.5 8.8 F 1.6 1.4 92.8
biotite 1050 35.3 4.2 F 0.2§ 0.07 62.3
1125 23.8 4.1 F 0.2§ 0.06 36.7
1175 32.1 4.0 F 0.2§ 0.04 25.1
1225 4.7 4.7 F 1.1§ 0.9 52.8
1350 0.6 6F9 1.3 95.4
4.0 F 0.1y 307 F 3 0.21 / 12
PS 99-21: Candelaria gabbro (96.5218 W, 19.7928 N); LH 1718: diorite recovered from at about 1700 m below the surface in a well near Plan de
las Hayas (Fig. 5).
Analyses performed at CICESE’s geochronology laboratory, Mexico.
All errors are 1r. The abbreviations are: plg = plagioclase; bio = biotite; t i = integrated age; t p = plateau age with the error in J included;
t c = isochron age calculated from the 36Ar/40Ar vs 39 Ar/40 Ar correlation diagram; y = isochron age calculated with the combined fractions of the
duplicate experiments performed; z = fraction ignored in the isochron calculation (see text); §fractions used to calculate t p. Best age estimate is
given in bold typeface. The decay constants used, are those recommended by the IUGS (Steiger and Jäger, 1977). Formulae given in York et al.
(2004) was used to obtain the best straight line for the isochron calculation and its parameters.

samples (EAP 27 and 28) are stratigraphically higher yielded ages that cluster in two time intervals:
and yielded slightly younger ages (Table 2). The 6.66 F 0.12 to 6.74 F 14 Ma (samples EAP 17–19)
narrow age range is consistent with the absence of and 7.02 F 0.16 to 7.56 F 0.15 Ma (samples EAP 10,
erosional discontinuity and/or paleosoils within the EAP 16 and EAP 20–24) (Table 2). A neck close to
lava flows. the southern edge of Sierra de Tantima yielded an
The Alamo volcanic field is composed of at least older age of 9.04 F 0.16 Ma (weighted mean of
40 monogenetic volcanoes that surround Sierra de duplicate experiments, sample EAP 25 in Table 2).
Tantima (Fig. 3 and Table 5). Because of erosion, lava No radiometric ages were available previously for
flows are rarely preserved and a neck of massive lava this region. With the exception of the 9 Ma old neck
(volcanic vent) is the only evidence of the volcanic our ages clearly point to a relatively short volcanic
structure. These volcanic necks have elevations pulse spanning less than 900 ka. Initially, the volcanic
ranging from 100 to 300 m. Modal composition of activity was weak and scattered, resulting in the
these rocks is very similar to the Sierra de Tantima development of the Alamo monogenetic field. Later,
samples. However, they show a greater variation in the output rate of volcanism apparently increased and
chemical composition, ranging from basanite to was able to sustain also more voluminous fissure
phonotephrite (Fig. 2). Samples from ten necks eruptions that eventually built Sierra de Tantima.
292 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

Poza Rica flows
Alk aline Late Pliocene
Na2O + K2O wt.%

a l k Chiconquiaco plateau
6 1
3 Late Miocene – early Pliocene
Chiconquiaco plateau

4 Late Miocene
Alamo volcanic field
2 Sierra de Tantima

2 Tlanchinol flows

40 45 50 55
SiO2 wt%

Fig. 2. Total alkali–silica classification for the dated rocks (after Le Bas et al., 1986). Line dividing subalkaline and alkaline fields from Irvine
and Baragar (1971). Labels in fields are 1: Basanite; 2: Basalt; 3: Hawaiite/potassic trachybasalt; 4: Mugearite/shoshonite. The Late Pliocene
samples, with Na2O 2 b K2O, belong to the shoshonitic series (potassic trachybasalt and shoshonite). Major element analyses performed by
XRF by R. Lozano at Instituto de Geologı́a, UNAM, Mexico City.

Fig. 3. Geologic map of the Tlanchinol–Tantima–Alamo area showing the location and age of previous and new isotopically dated rocks.
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 293

Table 5
Vent elongation in the Alamo volcanic field
Name of vent Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Sample number Age (Ma) Error Elongation
Cerro Las Borrachas 21.742 97.074 320
Cerro Quebracho 21.443 97.792 320
Cerro Pelón 21.388 97.743 58
Cerro El Borracho 21.385 97.750 49
Cerro El Trueno 21.371 97.762 323
Ojo de Brea 21.308 97.716 312
Cerro El Pelón 21.200 97.856 EAP 25 9.04 0.16 17
Neck Cerro Moralillo 21.189 97.814 EAP 23 7.12 0.14 318
W of San Felipe 21.162 97.792 EAP 24 7.12 0.14 Not detectable
Near Tierra Blanca 21.154 97.920 EAP 19 6.74 0.14 Not detectable
South of Tepetzintla 21.152 97.838 EAP 18 6.69 0.41 43
N of Loma El Repartidero 21.150 97.929 Not detectable
Near La Guasima 21.110 97.833 EAP 17 6.66 0.12 Not detectable
Cerro Tepenecuile W 21.090 97.901 22
Loma El Repartidero 21.089 97.933 Not detectable
Cerro Cacalote 21.086 97.826 EAP 16 7.02 0.16 41
Cerro Tepenecuile E 21.085 97.905 40
Near Tenango 21.083 97.841 43
Near La Mesilla 21.080 97.895 Not detectable
Cerro Artı́culo 21.075 97.785 315
Cerro La Cuatro 21.063 97.707 338
Cerro El Espinal 21.056 97.982 EAP 20 7.33 0.13 40
Cerro el Cañón 21.050 97.913 EAP 22 7.32 0.15 55
Cerro Chapopotal 21.045 97.712 335
Cerro Tlacolula 21.040 97.971 EAP 21 7.11 0.16 45
Cerro El Tepetate 21.040 97.898 Not detectable
Cerro La Mesa 21.033 97.920 Not detectable
S of Cerro Viejo 21.003 97.733 345
Cerro del Plumaje 20.983 97.774 Not detectable
Cerro Xococatl 20.974 97.975 41
Cerro Ayacaxtle 20.962 98.015 43
Cerro Tepecxtla 20.946 98.038 30
Cerro La Cruz 20.937 97.700 Not detectable
Cerro Aguacatepec 20.936 97.929 45
Cerro Tepoxteco 20.922 98.066 Not detectable
Cerro Ixcacuatitla 20.908 98.032 45
Cerro Sombrerete 20.902 97.813 EAP 10 7.56 0.15 48
Cerro Tzohuacale 20.896 98.045 25
Cerro Mirador 20.892 97.705 38

3.2. Tlanchinol flows phases of activity. Cantagrel and Robin (1979) later
dated two samples near Molango at 6.5 and 7.4 Ma, as
To the west of the Alamo volcanic field, the Sierra well as a sample to the northeast of Tlanchinol at 7.3
Madre Oriental (SMOr) consists of a thick marine Ma (Fig. 3).
succession of Mesozoic age involved in regional The volcanic succession is thick as 250 m and the
NNW-trending folds and thrusts of Laramide age (Fig. lavas are aphyric to microporphyritic with olivine and
1). Several massive lava flows are exposed on the pyroxene phenocrysts. They range in composition
eastern slopes of the SMOr between Tlanchinol and from alkali basalt to hawaiite (Fig. 2). In the highest
Huejutla (Fig. 3). In the Tlanchinol area, these lavas part of the SMOr, between Tlanchinol and Molango,
were studied by Robin and Bobier (1975) who the flows are deeply eroded and in part covered by
identified at least 22 basaltic flows emplaced in four early Pliocene silicic ash and pumice flow deposits
294 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

that become more abundant toward the southeast (Fig. Atotonilco basaltic succession exposed to the south of
3). To the east, the mafic flows probably filled paleo- Zacualtipan (Fig. 3) for which Cantagrel and Robin
valleys but now constitute WSW–ENE elongated (1979) obtained ages of 2.6 and 2.4 Ma (south of the
ridges because of their resistance to erosion (Fig. 3). limit of Fig. 3). Our new ages indicate that the
In the Huautla area, several flows coalesced to form beginning of mafic volcanism in the Tlanchinol area is
large bmesasQ with a thickness of several tens of contemporaneous with the early activity in the Alamo
meters. In the Tlanchinol area we dated two samples volcanic field.
(EAP 33 and 36) from the lower part of the
succession, yielding nearly identical ages of 7.30 F 3.3. Poza Rica flows
0.13 and 7.33 F 0.13 Ma, confirming the previous age
of Cantagrel and Robin (1979). We obtained an age of Several massive mafic lava flows cover the eastern
5.72 F 0.13 Ma for a third sample (EAP 31), exposed slope of the SMOr west of Poza Rica (Fig. 4). Our
at lower elevation and closer to Huejutla, (Table 2). geological studies indicate that these lavas flowed for
Consisting with its more youthful morphology, the over 90 km from the front of the SMOr west of
Huautla flow yielded a younger age of 2.82 F 0.16 Ma Huachinango to the coastal area of Poza Rica, about
(EAP 30). This latter age is comparable with the 2200 m topographically lower. Locally, the lavas

Fig. 4. Geologic map of the Tulancingo–Poza Rica area showing the location and age of previous and new isotopically dated rocks.
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 295

filled paleo-valleys, reaching a thickness of several whereas 40Ar/39Ar experiments produced ages of 268
hundreds of meters. Although partly eroded, the flows and 281 Ma (Iriondo et al., 2003). The basement rocks
are almost continuous from Huachinango to Poza are covered by the marine Mesozoic succession of the
Rica. Two other large flows are exposed northwest of SMOr and by Cenozoic siliciclastic rocks and igneous
Poza Rica in the Metlatoyuca area (Fig. 4). In general, successions (Fig. 5).
all these flows are better preserved than those in the The Cenozoic magmatic activity in the region
Tlanchinol area. Lavas are variably porphyritic with consists of four groups of rocks: 1) middle to late
olivine and clinopyroxene as phenocrysts. They show Miocene intrusive bodies of gabbroic to dioritic
a small compositional range that span across the basalt composition, mainly exposed along the coast in the
and hawaiite fields (Fig. 2). Misantla and Palma Sola areas; 2) a latest Miocene to
No ages were available in the literature for these early Pliocene alkaline basaltic plateau centered in the
rocks. We have dated six samples (EAP 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 Chiconquiaco area; 3) latest Pliocene shoshonitic lava
and 9) at different elevations of the flows. All data flows of the Alto Lucero–Actopan area; and 4) Late
cluster in a narrow age range comprised between Pleistocene to Holocene cinder cones with associated
1.64 F 0.06 and 1.31 F 0.03 Ma (Table 2). Four lava flows, located mostly to the south of the
samples (EAP 11, 12, 14 and 15) from the Metla- Chiconquiaco plateau (Fig. 5). López-Infanzón
toyuca flows were also dated. The lower flow yielded (1991) also distinguishes a unit of lahars and basalts
two ages, indistinguishable within the error, of ~1.6 between group 1 and 2. However, our field work
Ma. The upper flow produced also two nearly rather suggest that this unit consists of debris and
identical ages of ~1.4 Ma (Table 2). In light of these other erosional deposits, which locally may include
results, the Metlatoyuca flows may represent part of part of the overlying basalts.
the Poza Rica flows that branched off toward the north The intrusive rocks often have a microporphyritic
once the flows arrived in the coastal plain (Fig. 4). or microcrystalline texture indicative of a shallow
The Poza Rica flows are probably equivalent to the depth of intrusion. They commonly display sulfur
alkaline basalts described by Nelson and Lighthart mineralization and chlorite alteration and are locally
(1997) in the Tulancingo canyon (Fig. 4) at the base of cut by mafic dikes. Previous workers dated these
the Quaternary Las Navajas volcano. This correlation rocks by conventional K–Ar methods. Cantagrel and
is suggested by stratigraphic position and petrographic Robin (1979) obtained an age of 17 Ma for the
similarity between the two successions. As a whole, Laguna Verde microdiorite; Negendank et al. (1985)
the flows in the Poza Rica area represent a major pulse report ages of 12.3 and 12.9 Ma for the Candelaria
of alkaline volcanism in the eastern part of the gabbro (no errors and analytical data provided); and
TMVB. López-Infanzón (1991) dated three plutons exposed
near Tenochtitlan and Junique at 13.0 F 1.0, 9.0 F 0.7,
3.4. Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola area and 6.2 F 0.6 Ma (Fig. 5). With the purpose of
confirming this rather large age interval, we dated
Cenozoic volcanism in the Chiconquiaco–Palma some of the plutonic bodies previously studied by
Sola region spans a longer time interval than the areas these workers. We were unable to find a sample of the
to the north. The geology of the region is also more Laguna Verde microdiorite fresh enough for dating.
complex. The region is located in a structural high These rocks, also called bgreen formationQ by
(the so-called bTeziutlán massifQ) where the Paleozoic Cantagrel and Robin (1979), are actually intensely
basement (polydeformed schists, volcano–sedimen- and pervasively chloritized; thus, we consider the
tary and intrusive rocks) is uplifted along a roughly previously reported age of 17 Ma as unreliable. For
E–W-trending structure that breaks the continuity of the Junique gabbro, previously dated at 6.2 Ma by
the coastal basins (López-Infanzón, 1991) and divide López-Infanzón (1991), we obtained an age of
the Tampico–Misantla basin from the Veracruz basin 15.62 F 0.5 Ma (sample EAP 48; Table 2), which
to the south (Fig. 1). In the study area, these basement appears more consistent with the stratigraphy and
rocks are found west of Altotonga (Fig. 5) and yielded other ages of the intrusive bodies. A plagioclase
K–Ar ages of 269–252 Ma (López-Infanzón, 1991) concentrate from the Candelaria gabbro was dated by
296 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

Fig. 5. Geologic map of the Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola area showing the location and age of previous and new isotopically dated rocks.

Ar/39Ar. The integrated ages obtained are in agree- near the Tenochtitlan village (Fig. 5), for which
ment with the published K–Ar ages (Negendank et al., López-Infanzón (1991) reports an age of 9.0 Ma
1985). However, we prefer to take the isochron age of age. This first phase of magmatism extended also in
10.9 F 0.8 Ma as our best estimate for this sample, the Gulf of Mexico as suggested by the recent
because of the possibility of excess argon as discussed identification of a small eruptive center located
earlier. In addition, we dated two other samples (EAP offshore west of Santa Ana (Santa Ana High, Fig.
45 and 57) from hypoabyssal bodies exposed imme- 5), for which seismic reflection data suggest an age
diately below the overlying plateau basalts near Plan just younger than middle Miocene (Tim Wawrzyniec,
de las Hayas and El Limón (Fig. 5). These rocks written communication, 2003).
yielded ages of 14.65 F 0.32 Ma and 11.07 F 0.2 Ma An erosional unconformity and/or several tens of
respectively. In summary, the most reliable ages for meters of clastic deposits (blahars and basalts unitQ of
the intrusive rocks of Palma Sola range between 15.6 López-Infanzón, 1991) separate the intrusive rocks
and 10.9 Ma. The only exception would be a tonalite from the fissural lava flows comprising the Chicon-
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 297

quiaco plateau, presently covering about 1700 km2. from Chiconquiaco to Misantla yielded ages of about
The northern side of the plateau is highly dissected 3.4 Ma, indistinguishable within 1j error (Table 2).
whereas to the south the presence of capping Our datings also include isolated mafic flows towards
Quaternary volcanic rocks has impeded strong ero- the coast in the El Bejuco area (EAP 52–54; Fig. 5),
sion. North of Chiconquiaco, the succession is up to confirming that these rocks are part of the Chic-
800 m thick, although it thins rapidly to the east, being onquiaco plateau. Dioritic intrusives are also reported
only some tens of meters in the coastal areas. at depth in boreholes drilled by PEMEX (Mexican
Individual flows are 10 to 50 m thick and are Oil Company) in the region, but doubts exist on
generally separated by red soils or thin alluvial whether they are part of the basement complex or
deposits. Compositionally, the lavas span a large belong to a younger magmatic episode. For this
range from basanite to benmoreite mostly with an reason, we dated two samples from these wells.
intra-plate type affinity (Fig. 2). Some rocks of this Biotite from a microdioritic dike from a well east of
succession, however, show a moderate subduction Villa Zempoala (on the southeast corner of Fig. 5)
signal, and their Pb isotope signature suggests the has been dated by conventional K–Ar at 7.3 F 0.7 Ma
involvement of melts from subducted sediments in (Table 3), which is consistent with the beginning of
their genesis (Gómez-Tuena et al., 2003). South of the mafic volcanism of the Chiconquiaco plateau. A
Palma Sola, a group of dacitic domes (Cerro Cantera, diorite core (LH 1718) recovered at about 1700 m
Cerro Metates and associated domes) appear older below the surface in a well near Plan de las Hayas
than the plateau as they diverted the basaltic flows (Fig. 5) yielded an isochron age of 4.0 F 0.1 by the
(Fig. 5). According to Gómez-Tuena et al. (2003), Ar/39Ar method on a biotite concentrate (Table 4).
melt derived from the subducted MORB is involved Considering the good agreement of the two experi-
in magma genesis; Cerro Cantera displays the highest ments and the nearly flat age spectrum obtained (Fig.
adakitic signature of the area. 6), we interpret this age as a crystallization age
Cantagrel and Robin (1979) dated the dacitic corresponding to the main phase of the Chiconquiaco
dome of Cerro Cantera at 6.5 F 0.2 Ma and one plateau volcanism. These two ages of hypoabyssal
plateau basalt at 3.1 F 0.3 Ma. López-Infanzón bodies indicate the existence of intrusive equivalent
(1991) dated sixteen samples from several sections of the plateau at depth. Moreover, the presence of an
on the Chiconquiaco plateau. Fourteen of them extensive, but unexposed, mafic intrusive complex
yielded ages ranging between 6.0 F 0.6 and would also explain the prominent positive Bouguer
2.2 F 0.2 Ma; two older ages are discussed below. anomaly that this area displays in the gravimetric
Our sampling strategy was designed to better con- map of Mexico (De la Fuente et al., 1994).
strain the reported age span of this volcanic episode We regard with caution two ~9 Ma ages reported
and to compare with some of the previously by López-Infanzón (1991) for samples from the lower
published ages. A sample from Cerro Cantera yielded part of the plateau. Sample LI 203, is reported as a
an age of 7.48 F 0.13 Ma (EAP 55, Table 1), porphyritic trachydacite, a composition more akin to
somewhat older than the Cantagrel and Robin the underlying rock unit. On the other hand, this
(1979) age. The base of the plateau, sampled to the sample, with a 9.4 F 0.5 Ma age, is reported to have
NE of Plan de las Hayas, yielded an age of been collected several tens of meters above two other
6.93 F 0.16 Ma (EAP 49, Table 2), which is similar samples that yielded ages of 5.6 and 6.0 Ma, casting
to that obtained by López-Infanzón (1991) for one doubts on its age and/or location. The other sample
basal lava southeast of Tenochtitlan (Fig. 5). Most of (LI 100), according to López-Infanzón (1991), is a
the plateau succession, however, seems to have hawaiite collected below a lahar and an unconformity,
formed in a narrower age range. In fact, eleven thus it does not belong to the plateau. Therefore, our
samples taken at different stratigraphic levels within new data suggest that the volcanic activity that built
the succession yielded ages between 4.0 and 3.2 Ma the Chiconquiaco plateau began at around 7.0 Ma
(EAP 41, 42, 44–47, 50 and 56; Table 2). In (sample EAP 49, Table 2), although the main pulse of
particular, two samples collected on elevation differ- volcanism seems to have occurred at the beginning of
ence of nearly 300 m (EAP 46 and 47) along the road the Pliocene.
298 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

Fig. 6. 40Ar–39Ar age spectra and 37ArCa/39ArK diagram obtained for the samples LH 1718 and PS-99-21. Within the spectra, the errors are
given at the level of one standard deviation and are represented by the vertical width of the boxes. The analyses were performed by Margarita
López-Martı́nez at CICESE geochronological laboratory at Ensenada, Baja California, with the procedures described in Ferrari et al. (2002).

In the area between Alto Lucero and south of third sample (EAP 58) from a flow near Actopan, a
Actopan (Fig. 5), several lava flows advanced to the similar age of 1.92 F 0.18 Ma was obtained. Finally,
southeast, discordantly overlying the Chiconquiaco a lava flow at Plan del Rio, located about 10 km
plateau succession. These lavas are highly potassic south of Actopan (just south of the limit of Fig. 5)
and can be classified as shoshonites (Fig. 2). In the yielded an age of 2.24 F 0.05 (EAP 59). These ages
Alto Lucero area, we dated two samples (EAP 39 are comparable with the 2.2 Ma age obtained by
and 43) from lavas flows without visible vent López-Infanzón (1991) for a flow south of Chic-
exposed at the top of the Chiconquiaco plateau. onquiaco and the 1.9 Ma age reported by Cantagrel
These samples yielded nearly identical ages of and Robin (1979) for a flow 5 km to the east of
1.97 F 0.04 and 2.04 F 0.04 Ma (Table 2). For a EAP 59.
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 299

The youngest activity in the Chiconquiaco–Palma Veracruz basin to the east (Jennette et al., 2003)
Sola region is represented by at least 20 cinder cones (Fig. 7). We describe briefly the geology of these two
and associated lava flows that in some cases display a volcanic areas, because they appear strictly related to
very young morphology. The vents are aligned in a the Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola volcanic field.
WSW–ENE direction between Perote and Palma Sola
(Fig. 5) and their lavas have basaltic to trachybasaltic 3.5.1. Anegada volcanic center
composition (Siebert and Carrasco-Núñez, 2002). In The Anegada High is a positive structure where the
the valley between Naolinco and Actopan (Fig. 5), a pre-Cenozoic basement is uplifted with a NNW trend.
welded ash flow tuff (not reproducible at the map The presence of submarine mafic volcanism in the
scale of Fig. 5) separates these rocks from the southeastern part of the Anegada high was initially
underlying Chiconquiaco plateau succession. Siebert suggested by Moore and Castillo (1974), mostly on
and Carrasco-Núñez (2002) dated several of these aeromagnetic evidence and later corroborated by two
flows by the 14C method and obtained ages between exploratory wells drilled by PEMEX offshore of the
42,000 and 840 yr BP. Veracruz port (Anegada 2 and 3; Fig. 7). We obtained
several cores of these wells but the samples proved to
3.5. Neogene alkaline volcanism in southern Veracruz be too altered to be analyzed and dated. In thin
section, the samples show porphyritic structure with
The mafic volcanism of Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola olivine, clinopyroxene, and plagioclase phenocrysts.
extends to the southeast into the submarine volcanism Microprobe analyses of the clinopyroxenes indicate
at the Anegada High and the Los Tuxtlas volcanic an OIB affinity in the Ti vs. Ca + Na and Ti + Cr vs. Ca
field. These two volcanic fields also bound the diagrams, with values mostly overlapping the alkaline

Fig. 7. Regional geologic map of eastern Mexico showing the main Neogene volcanic episodes discussed in the text. Mid-late Miocene adakitic
TMVB as recognized by Gómez-Tuena et al. (2003). Apan = Apan volcanic field; CG = Cerro Grande; Popo = Popocatépetl; Izta = Iztaccihuatl;
Chich = Sierra Chichinautzin volcanic field; Pico = Pico de Orizaba; Cofre = Cofre de Perote. Crustal thickness (in kilometers) is from the
gravimetric study of Urrutia-Fucugauchi and Flores-Ruiz (1996). Boundary of the Tampico–Misantla and Veracruz basins from Jennette et al.
300 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

products of the Los Tuxtlas volcanics (Jacobo- inside this basin and mostly overlie its filling.
Albarrán et al., 1994). The seismic stratigraphy Neogene volcanism of the Chiconquiaco–Palma
calibrated at the Anegada 1 well indicates that the Sola, Anegada High, and Los Tuxtlas areas con-
volcanism occurred between 16 and 7 Ma (Jennette et stitute the northern and eastern boundary of the
al., 2003), coeval with the early phase of magmatism Veracruz basin respectively. Here, we discuss the
in the Palma Sola area and with the offshore relation between the mafic alkaline volcanism and
volcanism at Santa Ana High (Fig. 5). the Neogene tectonics of the western Gulf of
3.5.2. Los Tuxtlas
The Los Tuxtlas volcanic field covers an area of 4.1. Northern Veracruz and Hidalgo
over 2200 km2 in southernmost Veracruz State. A
synthesis of previous studies (Nelson and González- Previous workers (Robin, 1976, 1982; Robin and
Caver, 1992; Nelson et al., 1995; Jacobo-Albarrán, Tournon, 1978) associated the alkaline volcanism of
1997) indicates that volcanism may be divided into northern Veracruz and Hidalgo (Tlanchinol, Tantima
two main episodes. An older episode began in late and Alamo) with NNW-trending extensional faulting
Miocene (6.9 Ma, Nelson and González-Caver, affecting most of the SMOr border. However, no
1992; 7.9 F 0.7 Ma, Jacobo-Albarrán, 1997) and structural information was provided by these authors,
locally continued until ~1 Ma, producing hyper- and in the geologic sections of Robin (1982) most of
sthene-normative alkali-basalts, hawaiites, mugearites the normal faults are drawn as inferred and do not cut
and benmoreites now exposed in remnants of large the surface. Although the dense vegetation precludes a
cones, a plateau, and over 200 cinder cones. A detailed structural study, our studies indicate that Late
younger episode of calk–alkaline to transitional Tertiary normal faults are not common in and around
affinity began around 3.3 Ma. Most of the products most of the studied volcanic fields. Published geo-
of the younger episode were emplaced in five logic maps (Suter, 1990; Consejo de Recursos
calderas located in the southeastern part of the field Minerales, 1997) also show the border of the SMOr
and other centers in the northwest of the field. as an Early Tertiary fold and thrust belt, only locally
Although the oldest dated rocks are ~7 Ma, seismic affected by minor Late Tertiary normal faulting. In his
and borehole data indicate that volcanism in the Los detailed geological survey of the Tlanchinol area,
Tuxtlas has influenced the sedimentation of the Ochoa-Camarillo (1997) explicitly rejects the exis-
Veracruz basin since Middle Miocene (Jennette et tence of the extensional fault system postulated by
al., 2003). Therefore, the initial activity of the Los Robin (1982). Moreover, the subsurface geology of
Tuxtlas volcanism appears to be concurrent with the the Tampico–Misantla basin indicates that the com-
first volcanic episode in the Palma Sola area as well pressive regime that built the SMOr lasted until late
as that of the Anegada High. Eocene times, but with only very minor deformation
affecting post Eocene strata (Eguiluz de Antuñano et
al., 2000).
4. Tectonic setting Nevertheless, the emplacement of the relatively
primitive alkaline magmas of Tlanchinol, Tantima,
From a tectonic point of view, the studied and Alamo is likely to have occurred through some
volcanic fields are located in, or bound, two pre-existing crustal discontinuities. The flows of
Cenozoic coastal basins of the western Gulf of Tlanchinol appear spatially associated with a major
Mexico that are well studied for their hydrocarbon basement fault system of probable Late Jurassic age.
contents: the Tampico–Misantla basin and the In fact, the Proterozoic gneisses of the Huiznopala
Veracruz basin (Figs. 1 and 7). The Tlanchinol and Formation crop out at ~500 m elevation just 10 km to
Poza Rica flows were emitted from fissures along the the north of Molango (Fig. 3) (Ochoa-Camarillo,
front of the SMOr, coincident with the western 1997; Lawlor et al., 1999), and disappear toward the
boundary of the Tampico–Misantla basin. Sierra de north-east due to the NNE Ixtlapala–Huiznopala
Tantima and the Alamo volcanic field are located normal fault, which has a minimum displacement of
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 301

1600 m (Ochoa-Camarillo, 1997). Further to the east,

Precambrian rocks correlative with the Huiznopala
gneisses were cored at a depth of 2600 m in the
coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico (Suter, 1990).
These normal faults developed in Late Jurassic as a
consequence of the southeast motion of the Yucatan
block during the initial opening of the Gulf of Mexico
(Pindell and Kennan, 2001).
The Sierra de Tantima and Alamo volcanic field lie
in a plain without any visible evidence of faulting.
Robin (1982) suggested that the peculiar NE align-
ment of Sierra de Tantima was due to the accumu-
lation of lava flows in a paleo-valley whose sides were
later completely eroded. This explanation seems
highly unlikely, because the Sierra rises about 1300
m above the surrounding plain, plus a distance of over
35 km separates it from the other flows descending
from the SMOr (Fig. 3). In addition, lava flows that
built the Sierra do not show a NE dip, which would be
expected if they originated from the NNW-trending
front of the SMOr. Consequently, we suggest that the
NE elongation of Sierra de Tantima is the result of Fig. 8. Elongation direction (azimuth) of volcanic vents of the
eruption along a NE-trending fissure vent. This view Alamo Volcanic field (Table 5). Inset shows the possible orientation
is corroborated by the analysis of vent elongation and of the principal underlying basement structures.
dike orientation in the Alamo volcanic field. In our
field work, we observe that many volcanic necks 4.2. Southern Veracruz
show a preferential elongation. In four cases, the
feeding dikes were also exposed, with a direction The tectonics of the Veracruz basin is much more
parallel to the neck elongation. As summarized in complicated than those of basins to the North. The
Table 5 and Fig. 8, there are two main elongation mafic volcanism of this region (Palma Sola, Anegada,
directions: necks in the southwestern part of the field and Los Tuxtlas) was included by Robin (1982) in the
as well as Sierra de Tantima trend NE–SW, whereas EAP and considered as extension-related intraplate
necks in the northeastern part of the field are volcanism. More recent studies by Besch et al. (1988),
elongated in a NNW–SSE direction. The elongation Nelson et al. (1995), and Gómez-Tuena et al. (2003),
of a cone is generally considered to express the however, demonstrate that, unlike the volcanic fields
underlying feeding fracture (e.g., Tibaldi, 1995). In to the north, the volcanism in the Palma Sola and Los
this context, the directions observed in the field may Tuxtlas areas shows a variable signature from fluids
reflect the presence of buried crustal structures. and melts from the subducted plate. In the Chicon-
Recent paleo-reconstructions of the opening of the quiaco–Palma Sola area, we could not find any clear
Gulf of Mexico (Pindell and Kennan, 2001) show that evidence of an episode of extensional faulting
Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous paleotransforms that concurrent with the alkaline volcanism. The main
allowed the southeastern motion of the Yucatan block tectonic feature of the region seems to be an old ENE-
were oriented NNW, whereas normal faults bounding trending structure, as substantiated by the following
continental blocks were oriented NE or ENE. We evidences. A 60-km long alignment of Quaternary
conclude that the mafic volcanism in the Tampico– cinder cones trends ENE from the Cofre de Perote
Misantla basin (Tlanchinol, Alamo, Tantima) was fed area to the Candelaria area, in the coast (Fig. 5).
through old basement faults that were not necessarily Along this alignment, near site EAP 50 (Plan de las
structurally active at the time of volcanism. Hayas, Fig. 5), we measured several dikes feeding the
302 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

early Pliocene Chiconquiaco plateau, which also 5. Discussion and conclusions

strikes ENE. Finally, at the eastern end of the
alignment lies the middle Miocene offshore volcanic 5.1. Regional evolution of volcanism
center of the Santa Ana High (see Previous section).
This volcanic center is located at the eastern end of an The geologic and geochronologic data presented in
ENE-trending left-lateral, strike-slip fault active until this work, when integrated with previous studies, shed
the end of Middle Miocene (Tim Wawrzyniec, written light on the Neogene evolution of volcanism in
communication, 2003). Therefore, most of the volcan- eastern Mexico (Fig. 7). Our synthesis of the available
ism in the Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola region seems to data recognizes three main episodes of magmatism
be controlled by a major ENE-trending basement fault east of Mexico City. The onset of the TMVB
system that acted as a preferential magma pathway magmatism can be placed in the Middle Miocene
since Middle Miocene. (Ferrari et al., 1999). At this time, an E–W belt of
In the Los Tuxtlas volcanic field, a statistical mostly intermediate calc–alkaline centers developed.
analysis of the distribution of cinder cones and This belt includes polygenetic volcanoes of the Apan
polygenetic centers shows the existence of a 65-km volcanic field (Garcı́a-Palomo et al., 2002), the huge
long alignment with a 1208 (ESE) orientation, Cerro Grande volcanic complex (Gómez-Tuena and
expressed by at least 42 vents (Jacobo-Albarrán et Carrasco-Núñez, 2000), and the intrusive and sub-
al., 1992; Jacobo-Albarrán, 1997). An array of volcanic bodies of Palma Sola (Gómez-Tuena et al.,
secondary alignments and satellite lineaments also 2003; this work) (Fig. 7). According to Gómez-Tuena
indicates that the main alignment could be the et al. (2003), most of these rocks have an adakitic
expression of movements along a right-lateral base- signature (Fig. 7), presumably related to a period of
ment structure (Jacobo-Albarrán, 1997). The age of low-angle subduction that facilitated the melting of
most recent activity of this fault system, however, the leading edge of the slab. The middle Miocene
cannot be established from the field geology. TMVB may extend to the southeast, as expressed by
Additional information on the tectonics of the the offshore volcanism at Anegada High and the
region is provided by the subsurface geologic studies initial activity at Los Tuxtlas (Jennette et al., 2003;
in the Veracruz basin. Interpretation of extensive this work), although the geochemical affinity of these
seismic and borehole data indicate that contractile rocks is poorly known.
and strike-slip deformations characterize the basin A second eruptive episode is represented by a Late
during Miocene and Pliocene times (Jennette et al., Miocene to Early Pliocene (~7.5–3.0 Ma) pulse of
2003). In particular, volcanic activity at both the mafic alkaline volcanism located to the north and the
Anegada High and the Los Tuxtlas field was east of the previous episode (Fig. 7). Volcanism in the
controlled by a NW–SE trending fault system known northern part of the study region (Tlanchinol, Tan-
as the bAnton Lizardo trendQ, which has accommo- tima, Alamo) seems to be unrelated to subduction
dated a right-lateral, strike-slip deformation since (Orozco-Esquivel et al., 2003; our unpublished data).
middle Miocene times (Jennette et al., 2003) and still By contrast, lavas in the southern part of this mafic
shows strike-slip seismic activity (Suárez, 2000). alkaline belt (Palma Sola, Los Tuxtlas) show evidence
Jennette et al. (2003) also recognize a major change of a variable influx of fluids from the subducted slab
in tectonics and sedimentation at about 7 Ma. At this (Nelson et al., 1995; Gómez-Tuena et al., 2003).
time, the uplift of the northern part of the basin (Palma Indeed, some of these alkaline to transitional rocks
Sola area) triggered a major reorganization in the have a moderate subduction signal and their Pb-
regional sedimentation pattern. Intrabasinal faults isotope signature suggests the involvement of melts
were reactivated mostly as strike-slip faults and broad derived from subducted sediments in their genesis
folds that affected the center of the basin. In summary, (Gómez-Tuena et al., 2003). Thus, in one sense, it
the occurrence of mafic volcanism in the Veracruz could be considered as the extension of the TMVB.
basin seems to have been guided mostly by pre- However, the almost contemporaneous initiation of
existing strike-slip faults. Some of these faults may this episode throughout the study region calls for a
have been active concurrently with the volcanism. common mechanism causing the magmatism.
L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306 303

In Late Pliocene and Quaternary times, subduction- most voluminous volcanic episode, suggesting that
related volcanism dominates the region and is again another mechanism apart from subduction enhanced
localized in the same position of the first episode of mantle melting.
mid-late Miocene age. In this framework, the ~7.5– One possible explanation is the onset of edge-
3.0 Ma pulse of mafic alkaline volcanism represents driven convection at the Gulf of Mexico passive
an anomaly that cannot be easily reconciled with a margin. King and Anderson (1995, 1998) showed that
conventional subduction scenario, nor a consequence edge-driven, small-scale convection can be triggered
of an extensional tectonics. The cause of this in the upper mantle by a discontinuity in the
volcanism is discussed below. lithospheric thickness, such as that between cratons
and oceanic basins. Cold downwelling is expected
5.2. On the origin of the late Miocene to Early beneath the discontinuity, whereas hot upwelling is
Pliocene mafic alkaline volcanism predicted at some hundreds of kilometers beneath the
thin oceanic crust. King and Ritsema (2000) showed
The Robin (1982) model implicitly supposes a that this mechanism could account for hotspot
Neogene episode of extensional faulting capable of volcanism in the African and South America plates.
producing mantle decompression and melting. In The state of Veracruz is situated in a zone of steep
previous discussion, however, we show that in the gradients in crustal thickness variation dating back to
study region significant extensional faulting was not the late Jurassic. Such gradients may be suitable
operative during the Neogene. Pre-existing crustal candidates for the onset of small-scale convection.
structures were pathways for the ascent of mafic The crust passes from 40 to 30 km between
alkaline melts, but they were not responsible for Tlanchinol and Alamo and from 30 to 15 km beneath
melting of the mantle. Nelson et al. (1995) the Palma Sola and Los Tuxtlas areas (Fig. 7). The
explained the volcanism of the Los Tuxtlas as the region of alkaline volcanism, however, coincides with
product of mantle melting induced by the subduc- a predicted downwelling in the models of King and
tion of the Cocos plate. Similarly, the presence of a Anderson (1998) rather than the uprise of hot upper
variable subduction signature in the volcanic suc- mantle. Therefore, this mechanism cannot explain the
cession of Palma Sola prompted Gómez-Tuena et al. latest Miocene onset of alkaline volcanism in the
(2003) to interpret this volcanic field within the study region.
context of increasing slab depth with time. Our Another possibility is that melting was triggered by
geochemical data (Orozco-Esquivel et al., 2003 a relatively sudden increase in the mantle temperature
submitted) also support the presence of a subduction as a consequence of the detachment of the lower part
component in most of the lavas of the Chicon- of the subducted slab. Ferrari (2004) proposed that the
quiaco–Palma Sola region. Thus, subduction fluids deeper part of the subducted Cocos plate started to
and melts may have played a role in lowering the detach at about 12.5 Ma in western Mexico, when
mantle solidus in southern Veracruz, which is also subduction ceased off southern Baja California. In his
within a few hundreds of kilometers from the model, the detachment propagated laterally to the east
subduction zone. However, lavas from the northern because of the increasing slab pull of the still attached
part of the study region (Tlanchinol, Tantima and part of the plate. The detachment produced the
Alamo) show a clear intraplate character with no opening of a slab window that would have been filled
subduction signal. On the other hand, the geo- by hot asthenosphere. The resulting increase of the
chronologic data presented in this study, indicate mantle temperature would have been the cause of the
that the mafic alkaline pulse occurred at 7.5–6.5 Ma eastward-migrating mafic pulse of volcanism widely
in the north (Tlanchinol, Tantima, Alamo) and only exposed to the north of the Plio–Quaternary TMVB
slightly after (~7 to 3 Ma) in the south (Palma Sola (Ferrari et al., 2000; Ferrari, 2004) (Fig. 1). In this
and Los Tuxtlas areas), suggesting that a common context, the 7.5–3 Ma alkaline volcanism described in
regional mechanism served to trigger melting of the this work may represent the eastward and south-
mantle. In addition, in the Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola eastward prolongation of this pulse. The hypothesized
area, the 7–3 Ma alkaline rocks represent by far the slab loss can explain the abrupt begin of mafic
304 L. Ferrari et al. / Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 146 (2005) 284–306

volcanism at about 7.5 Ma throughout the study area. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City.
In the northern part of the region, the volcanic pulse 1 map.
Dickinson, W.R., Snyder, W.S., 1979. Geometry of subducted slabs
was short and of limited volume. This is consistent related to the San Andreas transform. J. Geol. 87, 609 – 627.
with a thermal origin for enhanced mantle melting Eguiluz de Antuñano, S., Aranda-Garcı́a, M., Marrett, R., 2000.
because this region was underlain by a dry mantle Tectónica de la Sierra Madre Oriental México. Bol. Soc. Geol.
unaffected by subduction since the Permian. By Mex. 53, 1 – 26.
Ferrari, L., 2004. Slab detachment control on volcanic pulse
contrast, in the southern part of the region, the mantle
and mantle heterogeneity in Central Mexico. Geology 32,
had been already metasomatized by fluids and melts 77 – 80.
of the subducted plate during the middle Miocene Ferrari, L., López-Martı́nez, M., Aguirre-Dı́az, G., Carrasco-Núñez,
episode of volcanism. This enabled a longer eruptive G., 1999. Space–time patterns of Cenozoic arc volcanism in
pulse and more voluminous volcanism. central Mexico: from the Sierra Madre Occidental to the
Mexican Volcanic Belt. Geology 27, 303 – 307.
Ferrari, L., Conticelli, S., Vaggelli, G., Petrone, C.M., Manetti, P.,
2000. Late Miocene mafic volcanism and intra-arc tectonics
during the early development of the Trans-Mexican volcanic
belt. Tectonophysics 318, 161 – 185.
Our work was supported by a CNR (Italy)– Ferrari, L., López-Martı́nez, M., Rosas-Elguera, J., 2002. Ignimbrite
CONACyT (Mexico) bilateral grant, Centro de Geo- flare up and deformation in the southern Sierra Madre
ciencias, UNAM, and Department of Geology and Occidental, western Mexico: implications for the late subduction
Mineralogy, Kyoto University (Japan). We acknowl- history of the Farallon plate. Tectonics 21 (17), 1 – 24.
Furlong, K.P., Chapman, D.S., Alfeld, P.W., 1982. Thermal
edge Miguel Angel Garcı́a G. and A. Susana Rosas modeling of the geometry of subduction with implications for
M., for their support with the 40Ar–39Ar analyses and the tectonics of the overriding plate. J. Geophys. Res. 87,
mineral separation of samples PS-99-21 and LH 1718. 1786 – 1802.
We thank Gerardo Carrasco and Arturo Gómez-Tuena Garcı́a-Palomo, A., Macı́as, J.L., Tolson, G., Valdez, G., Mora, J.C.,
for sharing their knowledge on the geology of the 2002. Volcanic stratigraphy and geological evolution of the
Apan region, east-central sector of the Trans-Mexican volcanic
Chiconquiaco–Palma Sola area. Arturo Gómez-Tuena belt. Geofı́s. Int. 41 (2), 133 – 150.
also lent his sample PS-99-21 for dating. Tim Gómez-Tuena, A., Carrasco-Núñez, G., 2000. Cerro grande
Wawrzyniec kindly provided important information volcano: the evolution of a Miocene stratocone in the early
on the offshore volcanic centers. Detailed review by Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. Tectonophysics 318, 249 – 280.
Gómez-Tuena, A., LaGatta, A., Langmuir, C., Goldstein, S.,
Robert Tilling greatly enhanced the clarity of the
Ortega-Gutierrez, F., Carrasco-Núñez, G., 2003. Temporal
original manuscript. control of subduction magmatism in the eastern Trans-Mexican
volcanic belt: mantle sources, slab contributions and crustal
contamination. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 4.
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