Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 1187–1211 | Cite as

Reconstruction of the volcanic history of the Tacámbaro-Puruarán area (Michoacán, México) reveals high frequency of Holocene monogenetic eruptions

  • Marie-Noëlle GuilbaudEmail author
  • Claus Siebe
  • Paul Layer
  • Sergio Salinas
Research Article


The 690 km2 Tacámbaro-Puruarán area located at the arc-front part of the Michoácan-Guanajuato volcanic field in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) records a protracted history of volcanism that culminated with intense monogenetic activity in the Holocene. Geologic mapping, 40Ar/39Ar and 14C radiometric dating, and whole-rock chemical analyses of volcanic products provide insights to that history. Eocene volcanics (55–40 Ma) exposed at uplifted blocks are related to a magmatic arc that preceded the TMVB. Early TMVB products are represented by poorly exposed Pliocene silicic domes (5–2 Ma). Quaternary (<2 Ma) volcanoes (114 mapped) are mainly scoria cones with lavas (49 vol.%), viscous lava flows (22 vol.%), and lava shields (22 vol.%). Erupted products are dominantly either basaltic andesites (37 vol. %), or andesites (17 vol.%), or span across both compositions (28 vol.%). Basalts (9 vol.%), dacites (4 vol.%), shoshonites (2 vol.%), and other alkali-rich rocks (<3 vol.%) occur subordinately. Early-Pleistocene volcanism was bimodal (dacites and basalts) and voluminous while since 1 Ma small-volume eruptions of intermediate magmas have dominated. Higher rates of lithospheric extension in the Quaternary may have allowed a larger number of small, poorly evolved dikes to reach the surface during this period. Eruptive centers as old as 1.7 Ma are aligned in a NE direction parallel to both, basement faults and the direction of regional compressive stress, implying structural control on volcanic activity. Data suggest that volcanism was strongly pulsatory and fed by localized low-degree partial melting of mantle sources. In the Holocene, at least 13 eruptions occurred (average recurrence interval of 800 years). These produced ~3.8 km3 of basaltic andesitic to andesitic magma and included four eruptions dated at ~1,000; 4,000; 8,000; and 11,000 years bc (calibrated 14C ages). To date, this is one of the highest monogenetic eruption frequencies detected within such a small area in a subduction-related arc-setting. These anomalous rates of monogenetic activity in an area with thick crust (>30 km) may be related to high rates of magma production at depth and a favorable tectonic setting.


Radiocarbon dating Ar–Ar dating Structural control Morphometry Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt Volcanic hazard 



The authors wish to thank Gabriel Valdés, Renato Castro-Govea, and Victor Hugo Garduño for participating in fieldwork. V.H. Garduño also helped in mapping some faults. Capitán Fernando Valencia is thanked for skillful and safe flights over the study area. Field and laboratory costs were defrayed from projects funded by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT-P167231 and 152294) and the Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico, UNAM (DGAPA IN-109412 and IA-101011) granted to C.S. and M.N. The Humboldt Foundation in Germany is also thanked for supporting this project. Part of the work was done as the first author completed a post-doctorate fellowship at the Instituto de Geografía, UNAM, sponsored by the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología del Distrito Federal (ICyTDF). L. Vázquez Selem, I. Alcántara Ayala, and others at Instituto de Geografía are thanked for their institutional support during that stay.

Editorial handling by J. White and detailed reviews by G. Valentine and S. Cronin were very helpful and are greatly appreciated.

Supplementary material

445_2012_594_MOESM1_ESM.xls (151 kb)
Table DR1 Additional 40Ar/39Ar data (XLS 151 kb)
445_2012_594_MOESM2_ESM.xls (98 kb)
Table DR2 Dimension, composition, and age of exposed Plio-Quaternary products (XLS 97.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie-Noëlle Guilbaud
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claus Siebe
    • 1
  • Paul Layer
    • 2
  • Sergio Salinas
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Vulcanología, Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMéxico D.F.México
  2. 2.Geophysical Institute and Department of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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