Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 105, Issue 4, pp 412–432 | Cite as

The Nevados de Payachata volcanic region (18°S/69°W, N. Chile) II. Evidence for widespread crustal involvement in Andean magmatism

  • Jon P. Davidson
  • Nancy J. McMillan
  • Stephen Moorbath
  • Gerhard Wörner
  • Russell S. Harmon
  • Leopoldo Lopez-Escobar


Volcanism extending over 11 Ma is represented in the rocks of the Nevados de Payachata region, culminating in the formation of two large composite stratocones within the last 500 000 years. Chemically distinct mafic magmas are erupted at a number of parasitic centers. These cannot be related to each other by crystal fractionation and do not appear to be direct parents for the differentiated suites of the composite cones. Two distinct trends are defined by the intermediate and evolved rocks; a high LILE (large ion lithophile element), TiO2 and Ce/Yb lineage among the youngest rocks (including the two major stratocones), and a more typical calc-alkaline trend among the older (>1 Ma) rock types. Within individual volcanic centers, differentiation involves fractionation of plagioclase, pyroxene and hornblende, with biotite and K-feldspar in the more-evolved rock types. Isotopic compositions (Sr, Pb, Nd, O) vary little with differentiation from basaltic andesite to rhyolite, or with age. Contamination during differentiation from basalt to rhyolite may occur, but the most mafic rocks erupted in the region are already enriched in incompatible trace elements and therefore may be insensitive to the effects of interaction with the crust. The majority of data are similar to “baseline” compositions (Cenozoic parental magmas) from other parts of the central Andes and may reflect a relatively homogeneous magma source (or source mixture) throughout this central volcanic zone (CVZ), which is distinct from the southern and northern Andes, and from island-arc volcanic rocks.

The detailed study of Nevados de Payachata serves as a useful reference against which to assess magmatism in general in the CVZ. The possibility that central Andean magmas are generated from an enriched subcontinental-lithosphere mantle wedge is rejected on the basis of: (1) thermal considerations (subcontinental mantle lithosphere is probably cold and refractory); (2) lack of consistency between the tectonic history of the region and geochemical variations through time. Instead, parental magmas in the CVZ are thought to be generated by mixing between normal arc magmas originating in the depleted mantle wedge followed by contamination and homogenization with lower crustal melts. In the central Andes, the extent of contamination increased greatly as the crust thickened due to crustal shortening within the last 20 Ma, the thicker crust providing an effective filter to trap and differentiate magma batches repeatedly during ascent.


Basaltic Andesite Mantle Wedge Parental Magma Mafic Magma Incompatible Trace Element 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon P. Davidson
    • 1
  • Nancy J. McMillan
    • 2
  • Stephen Moorbath
    • 3
  • Gerhard Wörner
    • 4
  • Russell S. Harmon
    • 5
  • Leopoldo Lopez-Escobar
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  4. 4.Institut für GeowissenschaftenUniversität MainzMainzFRG
  5. 5.NERC Isotope Geoscience LaboratoryBritish Geological SurveyNottinghamUK
  6. 6.Departamiento de GeologiaUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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