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Flow direction and magnetic mineralogy of lava flows from the central parts of the Peninsula of Baja California, Mexico

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Magnetic properties of two apparently unrelated lava suites (one tholeiitic and the other alkalic) coexisting in the central parts of the Peninsula of Baja California, Mexico, were measured in this study. Macroscopic indicators and measurements of anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) were combined to infer the flow direction on those lavas. These measurements were used to investigate the likelihood of the existence of an abnormally long tholeiitic lava flow in this part of the Peninsula. The obtained results indicate that the tholeiitic flows in the region constitute regular length flows, and are likely to have been issued through vents located within the area of study. Additionally, comparison of the magnetic signature of tholeiitic and alkalic lavas reveals a systematic difference in some of the magnetic parameters (bulk susceptibility and Curie temperatures). In particular, it is proposed that the narrow range of Curie temperatures characteristic of each lava type can be used as a reliable proxy for the identification of each lava type in the region. All of these findings show that the alkalic and tholeiitic lavas of the region are more closely related to each other than previously suspected.

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Financial support for this research was provided by CONACYT grant 25052-T and CICESE’s proyectos internos’ 644117 and 644122. The help of Marco Antonio Rojas and Raquel Negrete during field work and of Víctor Pérez during sample preparation is greatly appreciated. Interesting discussions with the late Lance Forsythe clarified some of the ideas presented here. E. Herrero-Bervera allowed me unrestricted use of his laboratory at the University of Hawaii, for which I thank him enormously. Comments made by J.C. Carracedo, M. Ort, R. Cioni and an anonymous reviewer helped to improve the clarity of the presentation.

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Correspondence to Edgardo Cañón-Tapia.

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Editorial responsibility: R. Cioni

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Cañón-Tapia, E. Flow direction and magnetic mineralogy of lava flows from the central parts of the Peninsula of Baja California, Mexico. Bull Volcanol 66, 431–442 (2004).

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  • Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility
  • Baja California
  • Flow directions
  • Magnetic mineralogy