Bulletin of Volcanology

, 79:44

Genesis and evolution of the Cerro Prieto Volcanic Complex, Baja California, Mexico

  • L. García-Sánchez
  • J. L. Macías
  • G. Sosa-Ceballos
  • J. L. Arce
  • V. H. Garduño-Monroy
  • R. Saucedo
  • D. R. Avellán
  • E. Rangel
  • P. W. Layer
  • H. López-Loera
  • V. S. Rocha
  • G. Cisneros
  • G. Reyes-Agustín
  • A. Jiménez
  • J. A. Benowitz
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00445-017-1126-8

Cite this article as:
García-Sánchez, L., Macías, J.L., Sosa-Ceballos, G. et al. Bull Volcanol (2017) 79: 44. doi:10.1007/s00445-017-1126-8

Abstract

The Cerro Prieto Volcanic Complex (CPVC), located in northwestern Mexico, is the only surface manifestation of the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field, the third largest producer of geothermal energy in the world. This geothermal field and the Salton Sea in the USA sit in a pull-apart basin that belongs to the trans-tensional tectonic zone that includes the San Andreas Fault system and the Salton Trough basin to the NW and the East Pacific Rise to the SE. In spite of its strategic importance in the generation of geothermal energy, the origin of Cerro Prieto and its relationship with the geothermal reservoir were unknown. In this contribution, we discuss the origin, evolution, and mechanisms of formation of this small monogenetic volcano and the magmas that fed the system. The volcanic complex is located on top of the Cerro Prieto left lateral fault to the northwest of the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field. The complex consists of a lava cone and a series of domes (∼0.15 km3) protruding from Tertiary sandstones and recent unconsolidated sediments of the alluvial plain of the Colorado River. The Cerro Prieto Volcanic Complex consists of seven stratigraphic units emplaced in a brief time span around 78–81 ka. Its activity began with the extrusion of a dacitic lava that came into contact with water-saturated sediments, causing brecciation of the lava. The activity continued with the emplacement of dacitic domes and a dyke that were destroyed by a phreatic explosion emplacing a lithic-rich breccia. This phreatic explosion formed a 300-m-wide and 40-m-deep circular crater. The activity then migrated ∼650 m to the SW where three dacitic lava domes were extruded and ended with the emplacement of a fissure-fed lava flow. Subsequent remobilization of the rocks in the complex has generated debris and hyperconcentrated flow deposits interbedded with fluviatile sediments in the surrounding terrain. All rocks of the CPVC are dacites with phenocrysts of plagioclase, orthopyroxene, and Fe-Ti oxides and minor quartz. Gabbro-dioritic dykes intruded in Tertiary sandstones and siltstones of the local basement contain phenocrysts of plagioclase, clinopyroxene, Fe-Ti oxides, and olivine. All CPVC rocks are chemically homogeneous suggesting discrete modifications by crustal assimilation, fractional crystallization, or magma mixing processes during upper crustal residence. Aeromagnetic results suggest that the depth of the magmatic source in the area is located below 3.5 km. CPVC rocks contain chemical anomalies typical of subduction zones, which suggests that all CPVC magmas could have been generated by partial melting of the remains of the subducted Farallon plate.

Keywords

Volcanic stratigraphy 40Ar/39Ar geochronology Phreatic explosion Sr-Nd-Pb isotopes 

Supplementary material

445_2017_1126_MOESM1_ESM.xls (1 mb)
ESM 1(XLS 1047 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
CFE-UNAM
  • CFE-UNAM study 9400062328
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (MX)
  • Project 15, and 17 CEMIE Geo

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. García-Sánchez
    • 1
  • J. L. Macías
    • 2
  • G. Sosa-Ceballos
    • 2
  • J. L. Arce
    • 3
  • V. H. Garduño-Monroy
    • 4
  • R. Saucedo
    • 5
  • D. R. Avellán
    • 6
  • E. Rangel
    • 1
  • P. W. Layer
    • 7
  • H. López-Loera
    • 8
  • V. S. Rocha
    • 9
  • G. Cisneros
    • 2
  • G. Reyes-Agustín
    • 2
  • A. Jiménez
    • 4
  • J. A. Benowitz
    • 7
  1. 1.Posgrado en Ciencias de la Tierra, Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MexicoMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de GeologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  4. 4.Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la TierraUniversidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de HidalgoMoreliaMexico
  5. 5.Instituto de GeologíaUniversidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí San Luis PotosiMexico
  6. 6.Cátedra CONACYT—Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  7. 7.College of Natural Science and MathematicsUniversity of Alaska at FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  8. 8.División de Geociencias AplicadasInstituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica A.CSan Luis PotosiMexico
  9. 9.GEA Alianza para la Exploración GeotérmicaMoreliaMexico

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