Original Paper

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, 167:1006

First online:

Petrogenesis and geodynamic significance of silicic volcanism in the western Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: role of gabbroic cumulates

  • Chiara Maria PetroneAffiliated withDepartment of Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum Email author 
  • , Teresa Orozco-EsquivelAffiliated withCentro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • , Luca FerrariAffiliated withCentro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

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In the western Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt voluminous silicic volcanism has been associated with the rifting of the Jalisco block from mainland Mexico. Rhyolitic volcanism started at 7.5 Ma after a major pulse of basaltic volcanism aged 11–8.5 Ma associated with slab detachment. This was followed by a second period, between 4.9 and 2.9 Ma, associated with rhyolitic domes and ignimbrite coexisting with basaltic volcanism. The similarity in rare earth element contents between basalts and rhyolites excludes a simple liquid line of descent. The low Ba and Sr contents and the ferroan character of the rhyolites suggest extensive fractional crystallization. Late Miocene–early Pliocene rhyolite Sr isotope values are only slightly more radiogenic than the basalts, whereas Nd isotope ratios are indistinguishable. We successfully modelled the 7.5–3 Ma silicic magmatism as a result of partial melting of crustal gabbroic complexes that we infer to have formed in the mid-lower crust due to the high-density Fe-enriched composition of the late Miocene basaltic volcanism. Slab rollback since ~7.5 Ma favoured decompression melting and arrival of additional mafic magmas that intruded in the lower crust. These basalts heated and melted the gabbroic complexes forming the silicic magmas, which subsequently underwent assimilation and fractional crystallization processes. The first silicic pulse was emplaced during a period of low tectonic activity. Extensional faulting since the Pliocene favours the eruption of both silicic magma and lesser amount of mafic lavas.


Silicic–bimodal volcanism Ferroan magma Low-Sr rhyolites Tholeiitic trend Gabbroic cumulates melting Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt