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Copahue volcano and its regional magmatic setting

September 22, 2015

Copahue volcano (Province of Neuquen, Argentina) has produced lavas and strombolian deposits over several 100,000s of years, building a rounded volcano with a 3 km elevation. The products are mainly basaltic andesites, with the 2000–2012 eruptive products the most mafic. The geochemistry of Copahue products is compared with those of the main Andes arc (Llaima, Callaqui, Tolhuaca), the older Caviahue volcano directly east of Copahue, and the back arc volcanics of the Loncopue graben. The Caviahue rocks resemble the main Andes arc suite, whereas the Copahue rocks are characterized by lower Fe and Ti contents and higher incompatible element concentrations. The rocks have negative Nb-Ta anomalies, modest enrichments in radiogenic Sr and Pb isotope ratios and slightly depleted Nd isotope ratios. The combined trace element and isotopic data indicate that Copahue magmas formed in a relatively dry mantle environment, with melting of a subducted sediment residue. The back arc basalts show a wide variation in isotopic composition, have similar water contents as the Copahue magmas and show evidence for a subducted sedimentary component in their source regions. The low 206Pb/204Pb of some backarc lava flows suggests the presence of a second endmember with an EM1 flavor in its source. The overall magma genesis is explained within the context of a subducted slab with sediment that gradually looses water, water-mobile elements, and then switches to sediment melt extracts deeper down in the subduction zone. With the change in element extraction mechanism with depth comes a depletion and fractionation of the subducted complex that is reflected in the isotope and trace element signatures of the products from the main arc to Copahue to the back arc basalts.

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