K-Ar geochronology of the late cenozoic volcanic rocks of the Cordillera Occidental, southernmost Peru
Twenty-four K-Ar radiometric ages are presented for late Cenozoic continental volcanic rocks of the Cordillera Occidental of southernmost Perú (lat. 16° 57'-17° 36'S). Rhyodacitic ignimbrite eruptions began in this transect during the Late Oligocene and continued episodically through the Miocene. The development of andesitic-dacitic strato volcanoes was initiated in the Pliocene and continues to the present. The earliest ignimbrite flows (25.3-22.7 Ma) are intercalated in the upper, coarsely-elastic member of the Moquegua Formation and demonstrate that this sedimentary unit accumulated in a trough, parallel to Andean tectonic trends, largely in the Oligocene. More voluminous ash-flow eruptions prevailed in the Early Miocene (22.8-17.6 Ma) and formed the extensively preserved Huaylillas Formation. This episode was coeval with a major phase of Andean uplift, and the pyroclastics overlie an erosional surface of regional extent incised into a Paleogene volcano-plutonic arc terrain. An age span of 14.2-8.9 Ma (mid-Late Miocene) is indicated for the younger Chuntacala Formation, which again comprises felsic ignimbrite flows, largely restricted to valleys incised into the pre-Huaylillas Formation lithologies, and, at lower altitudes, an extensive aggradational elastic facies. The youngest areally extensive ignimbrites, constituting the Sencca Formation, were extruded during the Late Miocene. In the earliest Pliocene, the ignimbrites were succeeded by more voluminous calcalkaline, intermediate flows which generated numerous large and small stratovolcanoes; these range in age from 5.3 to 1.6 Ma. Present-day, or Holocene, volcanism is restricted to several large stratovolcanoes which had begun their development during the Pleistocene (by 0.7 Ma). The late Oligocene/Early Miocene (ca. 22-23 Ma) reactivation of the volcanic arc coincided with a comparable increase in magmatic activity throughout much of the Cordilleras Occidental and Oriental of the Central Andes.