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Recurrent eruption and subsidence at the Platoro caldera complex, southeastern San Juan volcanic field, Colorado: New tales from old tuffs

January 1, 1996

Reinterpretation of a voluminous regional ash-flow sheet (Masonic Park Tuff) as two separate tuff sheets of similar phenocryst-rich dacite erupted from separate source calderas has important implications for evolution of the multicyclic Platoro caldera complex and for caldera-forming processes generally. Masonic Park Tuff in central parts of the San Juan field, including the type area, was erupted from a concealed source at 28.6 Ma, but widespread tuff previously mapped as Masonic Park Tuff in the southeastern San Juan Mountains is the product of the youngest large-volume eruption of the Platoro caldera complex at 28.4 Ma. This large unit, newly named the “Chiquito Peak Tuff,” is the last-erupted tuff of the Treasure Mountain Group, which consists of at least 20 separate ash-flow sheets of dacite to low-silica rhyolite erupted from the Platoro complex during a 1 m.y. interval (29.5−28.4 Ma). Two Treasure Mountain tuff sheets have volumes in excess of 1000 km3 each, and five more have volumes of 50–150 km3. The total volume of ash-flow tuff exceeds 2500 km3, and caldera-related lavas of dominantly andesitic composition make up 250-500 km3 more. A much greater volume of intermediate-composition magma must have solidified in subcaldera magma chambers. Most preserved features of the Platoro complex-including postcollapse asymmetrical trap-door resurgent uplift of the ponded intracaldera tuff and concurrent infilling by andesitic lava flows-postdate eruption of the Chiquito Peak Tuff. The numerous large-volume pre-Chiquito Peak ash-flow tuffs document multiple eruptions accompanied by recurrent subsidence; early-formed caldera walls nearly coincide with margins of the later Chiquito Peak collapse. Repeated syneruptive collapse at the Platoro complex requires cumulative subsidence of at least 10 km. The rapid regeneration of silicic magmas requires the sustained presence of an andesitic subcaldera magma reservoir, or its rapid replenishment, during the 1 m.y. life span of the Platoro complex. Either case implies large-scale stoping and assimilative recycling of the Tertiary section, including intracaldera tuffs.

Publication Year 1996
Title Recurrent eruption and subsidence at the Platoro caldera complex, southeastern San Juan volcanic field, Colorado: New tales from old tuffs
DOI 10.1130/0016-7606(1996)108<1039:REASAT>2.3.CO;2
Authors P. W. Lipman, M.A. Dungan, L.L. Brown, A. Deino
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geological Society of America Bulletin
Index ID 70018962
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Hazards Program