Bulletin of Volcanology

, 81:64 | Cite as

In situ cosmogenic 3He and 36Cl and radiocarbon dating of volcanic deposits refine the Pleistocene and Holocene eruption chronology of SW Peru

  • Gordon R. M. BromleyEmail author
  • Jean-Claude Thouret
  • Irene Schimmelpfennig
  • Jersy Mariño
  • David Valdivia
  • Kurt Rademaker
  • Socorro del Pilar Vivanco Lopez
  • ASTER Team
  • Georges Aumaître
  • Didier Bourlès
  • Karim Keddadouche
Research Article


Constraining the age of young lavas, which generally fall outside the effective range of traditional geochronology methods, remains a key challenge in volcanology, limiting the development of high-resolution eruption chronologies. We present an in situ cosmogenic 3He and 36Cl surface-exposure chronology, alongside new minimum-limiting 14C ages, documenting young eruptions at five sites in the Western Cordillera, southern Peru. Four 3He-dated lavas on the Nevado Coropuna volcanic complex (hitherto thought to be dormant) indicate that the central dome cluster is young and potentially active; two Holocene lavas on the easternmost dome are the youngest directly dated lavas in Peru to date. East of Coropuna, lava domes and block-lava flows represent the most extensive output to date of Nevado Sabancaya, one of Peru’s most active volcanoes. Two 3He measurements confirm the Holocene age of these deposits and expand the chronology for one of the youngest major lava fields in Peru. 36Cl surface-exposure ages from the Purupurini dome cluster and Nevado Casiri document middle-late-Holocene episodes of effusive activity, while basal 14C ages from a lava-dammed wetland constrain an effusive eruption at Mina Arcata, north of Coropuna, to the late-glacial period. These new data advance the recent Western Cordillera volcanic record whilst demonstrating both the considerable potential and fundamental limitations of cosmogenic surface-exposure methods for such applications.


Cosmogenic surface-exposure dating Helium-3 Chlorine-36 Lava flows 14C dating Peruvian Andes 



We thank Claire Todd and Matthew Hegland (Pacific Lutheran University), Rigoberto Aguilar (OVI Ingemmet, Arequipa), and Peter Strand (UMaine) for field and sampling assistance. We also thank Mark Kurz and Josh Curtice, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, for input during sample preparation and helium measurement. Pierre Boivin, Claire Fonquernie, Mhammed Benbakkar, and Jean-Luc Davidal provided analytical laboratory assistance. G. Bromley acknowledges support from NSF grant EAR-10-03427 and the Churchill Exploration Foundation (UMaine). The ASTER AMS national facility (CEREGE, Aix en Provence) is supported by the INSU/CNRS, the ANR through the ‘Projets thématiques d’excellence’ programme for the ‘Equipements d’excellence’ ASTER-CEREGE action and IRD. Finally, we extend our thanks to Jorge Vasquez, an anonymous reviewer, Associate Editor Hannah Dietterich and Editor Jacopo Taddeucci for their thoughtful and constructive comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. CLERVOLC and I-SITE contribution 356. Consortium: Georges Aumaître, Didier Bourlès, Karim Keddadouche

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 991 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Association of Volcanology & Chemistry of the Earth's Interior 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon R. M. Bromley
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jean-Claude Thouret
    • 3
  • Irene Schimmelpfennig
    • 4
  • Jersy Mariño
    • 5
  • David Valdivia
    • 5
  • Kurt Rademaker
    • 6
  • Socorro del Pilar Vivanco Lopez
    • 7
  • ASTER Team
    • 4
  • Georges Aumaître
  • Didier Bourlès
  • Karim Keddadouche
  1. 1.School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish StudiesNUI GalwayGalwayIreland
  2. 2.Climate Change InstituteUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  3. 3.Université Clermont Auvergne, Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans UMR 6524 CNRS and IRD R163, OPGC, Campus Universitaire des CézeauxAubière CedexFrance
  4. 4.CNRS, INRA, IRD, Coll de France, CEREGEAix-Marseille UniversitéAix en ProvenceFrance
  5. 5.Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET, OVI Instituto Geológico Minero y MetalúrgicoArequipaPeru
  6. 6.Department of AnthropologyMichigan State UniversityLansingUSA
  7. 7.Instituto Geofisico del PeruLimaPeru

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