Low-pressure evolution of arc magmas in thickened crust: The San Pedro-Linzor volcanic chain, Central Andes, Northern Chile
Magmatism at Andean Central Volcanic Zone (CVZ), or Central Andes, is strongly influenced by differentiation and assimilation at high pressures that occurred at lower levels of the thick continental crust. This is typically shown by high light to heavy rare earth element ratios (LREE/HREE) of the erupted lavas at this volcanic zone. Increase of these ratios with time is interpreted as a change to magma evolution in the presence of garnet during evolution of Central Andes. Such geochemical signals could be introduced into the magmas be high-pressure fractionation with garnet on the liquidus and/or assimilation from crustal rocks with a garnet-bearing residue. However, lavas erupted at San Pedro-Linzor volcanic chain show no evidence of garnet fractionation in their trace element patterns. This volcanic chain is located in the active volcanic arc, between 22°00′S and 22°30′S, over a continental crust ∼70 km thick. Sampled lavas show Sr/Y and Sm/Yb ratios <40 and <4.0, respectively, which is significantly lower than for most other lavas of recent volcanoes in the Central Andes. In addition, 87Sr/86Sr ratios from San Pedro-Linzor lava flows vary between 0.7063 and 0.7094. This is at the upper range, and even higher than those observed at other recent Central Andean volcanic rocks (<0.708). The area in which the San Pedro-Linzor volcanic chain is located is constituted by a felsic, Proterozoic upper crust, and a thin mafic lower crustal section (<25 km). Also, the NW-SE orientation of the volcanic chain is distinctive with respect to the N-S orientation of Central Andean volcanic front in northern Chile. We relate our geochemical observations to shallow crustal evolution of primitive magmas involving a high degree of assimilation of upper continental crust. We emphasize that low pressure AFC- (Assimilation Fractional Crystallization) type evolution of the San Pedro-Linzor volcanic chain reflects storage, fractionation, and contamination of mantle-derived magmas at the upper felsic crust (<40 km depth). The ascent of mantle-derived magmas to mid-crustal levels is related with the extensional regime that has existed in this zone of arc-front offset since Late-Miocene age, and the relatively thin portion of mafic lower crust observed below the volcanic chain.