Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp 391–414 | Cite as

The eruptive history of the Tequila volcanic field, western Mexico: ages, volumes, and relative proportions of lava types

  • Catherine B. Lewis-Kenedi
  • Rebecca A. LangeEmail author
  • Chris M. Hall
  • Hugo Delgado-Granados
Research Article


The eruptive history of the Tequila volcanic field (1600 km2) in the western Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt is based on 40Ar/39Ar chronology and volume estimates for eruptive units younger than 1 Ma. Ages are reported for 49 volcanic units, including Volcán Tequila (an andesitic stratovolcano) and peripheral domes, flows, and scoria cones. Volumes of volcanic units ≤1 Ma were obtained with the aid of field mapping, ortho aerial photographs, digital elevation models (DEMs), and ArcGIS software. Between 1120 and 200 kyrs ago, a bimodal distribution of rhyolite (~35 km3) and high-Ti basalt (~39 km3) dominated the volcanic field. Between 685 and 225 kyrs ago, less than 3 km3 of andesite and dacite erupted from more than 15 isolated vents; these lavas are crystal-poor and show little evidence of storage in an upper crustal chamber. Approximately 200 kyr ago, ~31 km3 of andesite erupted to form the stratocone of Volcán Tequila. The phenocryst assemblage of these lavas suggests storage within a chamber at ~2–3 km depth. After a hiatus of ~110 kyrs, ~15 km3 of andesite erupted along the W and SE flanks of Volcán Tequila at ~90 ka, most likely from a second, discrete magma chamber located at ~5–6 km depth. The youngest volcanic feature (~60 ka) is the small andesitic volcano Cerro Tomasillo (~2 km3). Over the last 1 Myr, a total of 128±22 km3 of lava erupted in the Tequila volcanic field, leading to an average eruption rate of ~0.13 km3/kyr. This volume erupted over ~1600 km2, leading to an average lava accumulation rate of ~8 cm/kyr. The relative proportions of lava types are ~22–43% basalt, ~0.4–1% basaltic andesite, ~29–54% andesite, ~2–3% dacite, and ~18–40% rhyolite. On the basis of eruptive sequence, proportions of lava types, phenocryst assemblages, textures, and chemical composition, the lavas do not reflect the differentiation of a single (or only a few) parental liquids in a long-lived magma chamber. The rhyolites are geochemically diverse and were likely formed by episodic partial melting of upper crustal rocks in response to emplacement of basalts. There are no examples of mingled rhyolitic and basaltic magmas. Whatever mechanism is invoked to explain the generation of andesite at the Tequila volcanic field, it must be consistent with a dominantly bimodal distribution of high-Ti basalt and rhyolite for an 800 kyr interval beginning ~1 Ma, which abruptly switched to punctuated bursts of predominantly andesitic volcanism over the last 200 kyrs.


40Ar/39Ar geochronology GIS Eruption rates Aphyric andesites Arc volcanism Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt 



This study was supported by NSF grant EAR-9909567. Thorough reviews by Anita Grunder, Charlie Bacon, and Julie Donnelly-Nolan significantly improved the manuscript. We thank Marcus Johnson for his assistance in the geochronology lab. We also thank Ian Carmichael for spending a few days with us in the field and for sharing his >30 years experience of the volcanic geology of western Mexico. We very much appreciate the field assistance of Marcos Luna Alonso and Miguel Angel Alatorre Ibarguengoitia. Discussions with Holli Frey about the ArcGIS software are also greatly appreciated. We especially thank Paul Wallace for sending us several samples from his collection, four of which were dated for this study.

Supplementary material

supp1.pdf (539 kb)
(PDF 552 KB)
supp2.pdf (76 kb)
(PDF 72 KB)


  1. Allan JF, Nelson SA, Luhr JF, Carmichael ISE, Wopat M, Wallace PJ (1991) Pliocene-Holocene rifting and associated volcanism in southwest Mexico: an exotic terrane in the making. In: Dauphin JP, Simoneit BA (eds) The gulf and peninsular province of the Californias. Am Assoc Petrol Geol Mem 47:425–445Google Scholar
  2. Bacon CR (1990) Calc-alkaline, shoshonitic, and primitive tholeiitic lavas from monogenetic volcanoes near Crater Lake, Oregon. J Petrol 31:135–166Google Scholar
  3. Bacon CR, Druitt TH (1988) Compositional evolution of the zoned calcalkaline magma chamber of Mount Mazama, Crater Lake, Oregon. Contrib Mineral Petr 98:224–256Google Scholar
  4. Bacon CR, Gunn SH, Lanphere MA, Wooden JL (1994) Multiple isotopic components in quaternary volcanic rocks of the Cascade Arc near Crater Lake, Oregon. J Petrol 35:1521–1556Google Scholar
  5. Bacon CR, Persing HM, Wooden JL, Ireland TR (2000) Late Pleistocene granodiorite beneath Crater Lake caldera, Oregon, dated by ion microprobe. Geology 28:467–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baksi AK, Archibald DA, Farrar E (1996) Intercalibration of 40Ar/39Ar dating standards. Chem Geol 129:307–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borgia A, Poore C, Carr MJ, Melson WG, Alvarado GE (1988) Structural, stratigraphic, and petrologic aspects of the Arenal-Chato volcanic system, Costa Rica: evolution of a young stratovolcanic complex. Bull Volcanol 50:86–105Google Scholar
  8. Carmichael ISE (2002) The andesite aqueduct: perspectives on the evolution of intermediate magmatism in west-central (105–99°W) Mexico. Contrib Mineral Petr 143:641–663Google Scholar
  9. Cashman K, Blundy J (2000) Degassing and crystallization of ascending andesite and dacite. Philos T Roy Soc A 358:1487–1513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Conway FM, Ferrill DA, Hall CM, Morris AP, Stamatakos JA, Connor CB, Halliday AN, Condit C (1997) Timing of basaltic volcanism along the Mesa Butte fault in the San Francisco volcanic field, Arizona, from 40Ar/39Ar dates: implications for longevity of cinder cone alignments. J Geophys Res 102:815–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crisp JA (1984) Rates of magma emplacement and volcanic output. J Volcanol Geoth Res 20:177–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Damon PE, Nieto-Obregon J, Delgado-Argote LA (1979) Un plegamiento neogénico en Nayarit y Jalicso y evolución geomórphica del Río Grande de Santiago. Asoc Ing Min Met Geol Mex Memoria Técnica 12:156–191Google Scholar
  13. Davidson J, Tepley III F, Palacz Z, Meffan-Main S (2001) Magma recharge, contamination and residence times revealed by in situ laser ablation isotopic analysis of feldspar in volcanic rocks. Earth Planet Sc Lett 184:427–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Delgado-Granados H (1993) Late Cenozoic tectonics offshore western Mexico and its relation to the structure and volcanic activity in the western Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. Geofis Int 32:543–559Google Scholar
  15. Demant A (1979) Vulcanologia y petrografia del sector occidental del eje neovolcanico. UNAM Inst Geol Revista 3:39–57Google Scholar
  16. DeMets C, Traylen S (2000) Motion of the Rivera plate since 10 Ma relative to the Pacific and North American plates and the mantle. Tectonophysics 318:119–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DeMets C, Wilson DS (1997) Relative motions of the Pacific, Rivera, North American and Cocos plates since 0.78 Ma. J Geophys Res 102:2789–2806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Druitt TH, Edwards R, Mellors M, Pyle DM, Sparks RSJ, Lanphere MA, Davies M, Barriero B (1999) Santorini volcano (Geological Society Special Memoir 19). London Geol Soc, London, pp 1–165Google Scholar
  19. Dungan MA, Wulff A, Thompson R (2001) Eruptive stratigraphy of the Tatara-San Pedro complex, 36°S, southern volcanic zone, Chilean Andes: reconstruction method and implications for magma evolution at long-lived arc volcanic centers. J Petrol 42:555–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frey HM, Lange RA, Hall CM, Delgado-Granados H (2004) Magma eruption rates constrained by 40Ar/39Ar chronology and GIS for the Ceboruco-San Pedro volcanic field, western Mexico. Geol Soc Am Bull 116:259–276 (Erratum 116:1040)Google Scholar
  21. Gardner JE, Tait S (2000) The caldera-forming eruption of Volcán Ceboruco, Mexico. Bull Volcanol 62:20–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gilbert CM, Mahood GA, Carmichael ISE (1985) Volcanic stratigraphy of the Guadalajara area, Mexico. Geofís Int 24:169–192Google Scholar
  23. Gill J (1981) Orogenic andesites and plate tectonics. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 1–385Google Scholar
  24. Hall CM, Farrell JW (1995) Laser 40Ar/39Ar ages of tephra from Indian Ocean deep-sea sediments: tie points for the astronomical and geomagnetic polarity time scales. Earth Planet Sc Lett 133:327–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hall CM, York D (1978) K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar age of the Laschamp geomagnetic polarity reversal. Nature 274:462–464Google Scholar
  26. Hall CM, York D (1984) The applicability of 40Ar/39Ar dating to young volcanics. In: Mahaney WC (ed) Quaternary dating methods. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 67–74Google Scholar
  27. Harris JM (1986) Silicic volcanics of Volcan Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico. MSc thesis, University of California, Berkeley, CAGoogle Scholar
  28. Hildreth W, Lanphere MA (1994) Potassium-argon geochronology of a basalt-andesite-dacite arc system: the Mount Adams volcanic field, Cascade Range of southern Washington. Geol Soc Am Bull 106:1413–1429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hildreth W, Fierstein J, Lanphere M (2003) Eruptive history and geochronology of the Mount Baker volcanic field, Washington. Geol Soc Am Bull 115:729–764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hobden BJ, Houghton BF, Nairn AI (2002) Growth of a young, frequently active composite cone: Ngauruhoe volcano, New Zealand. Bull Volcanol 64:392–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Housh TB, Luhr JF (1991) Plagioclase-melt equilibria in hydrous systems. Am Mineral 78:477–492Google Scholar
  32. Hughes SS, Smith RP, Hackett WR, Anderson SR (1999) Mafic volcanism and environmental geology of the Eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho. In: Hughes SS, Thackray GD (eds) Guidebook to the geology of Eastern Idaho. Idaho Museum of Natural History, Pocatello, Idaho, pp 143–168Google Scholar
  33. Klitgord KD, Mammerickx J (1982) Northern East Pacific Rise: magnetic anomaly and bathymetric framework. J Geophys Res 87:6725–6750Google Scholar
  34. Lanphere MA (2000) Comparison of conventional K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar dating of young mafic volcanic rocks. Quaternary Res 53:294–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lowenstern JB, Persing HM, Wooden JL, Lanphere M, Donnelly-Nolan J, Grove TL (2000) U-Th dating of single zircons from young granitoid xenoliths: new tools for understanding volcanic processes. Earth Planet Sc Lett 183:291–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Luhr JF, Prestegaard KL (1988) Caldera formation at Volcano Colima, Mexico by a large holocene volcanic debris avalanche. J Volcanol Geoth Res 35:335–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mahood GA (1981) A summary of the geology and petrology of the Sierra La Primavera, Jalisco, Mexico. J Geophys Res 86:10137–10152Google Scholar
  38. Métrich N, Bertagnini A, Landi P, Rosi M (2001) Crystallization driven by decompression and water loss at Stromboli volcano (Aeolian Islands, Italy). J Petrol 42:1471–1490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Miller CD (1980) Potential hazards from future eruptions in the vicinity of Mount Shasta Volcano, northern California. USGS Bull 1503Google Scholar
  40. Moore G, Carmichael ISE (1998) The hydrous phase equilibria (to 3 kbar) of an andesite and basaltic andesite from western Mexico: constraints on water content and conditions of phenocryst growth. Contrib Mineral Petr 130:304–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moore G, Venneman T, Carmichael ISE (1998) An empirical model for the solubility of water in magmas to 3 kbars. Am Mineral 83:36–42.Google Scholar
  42. Mullineaux DM (1986) Summary of pre-1980 tephra-fall deposits erupted from Mount St. Helens, Washington State, USA. Bull Volcanol 48:17–26Google Scholar
  43. Nelson SA (1980) Geology and petrology of Volcán Ceboruco, Nayarit, Mexico. Geol Soc Am Bull 91:2290–2431Google Scholar
  44. Nelson SA, Livieres RA (1986) Contemporaneous calc-alkaline and alkaline volcanism in the region of Sangangüey volcano, Nayarit, Mexico. Geol Soc Am Bull 97:798–808Google Scholar
  45. Nieto-Obregón J, Delgado L, Damon PE (1985) Geochronologic, petrologic, and structural data related to large morphologic features between the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Mexican volcanic belt. Geofís Int 24:623–663Google Scholar
  46. Nixon GT, Demant A, Armstrong RL, Harakal JE (1987) K-Ar and geologic data bearing on the age and evolution of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. Geofís Int 26:109–158Google Scholar
  47. Otsuki K (1989) Empirical relationships among the convergence rate of plates, rollback rate of trench axis and island-arc tectonics: laws of convergence rate of plates. Tectonophysics 159:73–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pardo M, Suárez G (1993) Steep subduction geometry of the Rivera plate beneath the Jalisco block in western Mexico. Geophys Res Lett 20:2391–2394Google Scholar
  49. Renne PR, Swisher CC, Deino AL, Karner DB, Owens TL, DePaolo DJ (1998) Intercalibration of standards, absolute ages, and uncertainties in 40Ar/39Ar dating. Chem Geol 145:117–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Samson SD, Alexander EC (1987) Calibration of the interlaboratory 40Ar/39Ar dating standard, Mmhb-1. Chem Geol 66:27–34Google Scholar
  51. Singer BS, Thompson RA, Dungan MA, Feeley TC, Nelson ST, Pickens JC, Brown LL, Wulff AW, Davidson JP, Metzger J (1997) Volcanism and erosion during the past 930 k.y. at the Tatara-San Pedro complex, Chilean Andes. Geol Soc Am Bull 109:127–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Steiger RH, Jäger E (1977) Subcommission on geochronology: convention on the use of decay constants in geo- and cosmochronology. Earth Planet Sc Lett 36:359–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Taylor JR (1982) An introduction to error analysis: the studies of uncertainty in physical measurements. University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA, pp 1–270Google Scholar
  54. Urrutia-Fucugauchi J, Flores-Ruis JH (1996) Bouguer gravity anomalies and regional crustal structure in central Mexico. Int Geol Rev 38:176–194Google Scholar
  55. Wallace PJ, Carmichael ISE (1994) Petrology of Volcán Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico: disequilibrium phenocryst assemblages and evolution of the subvolcanic magma system. Contrib Mineral Petr 117:345–361Google Scholar
  56. Wallace PJ, Carmichael ISE, Righter K, Becker TA (1992) Volcanism and tectonism in western Mexico: a contrast of style and substance. Geology 20:625–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wopat MA (1990) Quaternary alkaline volcanism and tectonics in the Mexican volcanic belt near Tequila, Jalisco, southwestern Mexico. PhD dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, CAGoogle Scholar
  58. Zellmer GF, Blake S, Vance D, Hawkesworth C, Turner S (1999) Plagioclase residence times at two island arc volcanoes (Kameni Islands, Santorini, and Soufriere, St. Vincent) determined by Sr diffusion systematics. Contrib Mineral Petr 136:345–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine B. Lewis-Kenedi
    • 1
  • Rebecca A. Lange
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chris M. Hall
    • 1
  • Hugo Delgado-Granados
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Instituto de GeofísicaUNAMCoyoacanMexico

Personalised recommendations