Late Quaternary monogenetic volcanoes along Río Salado, Sothwest Mendoza Province, Argentina



On the eastem flank of the Andes, to the north of Río Salado in southwest Mendoza Province (35º07'S-35º10'S), there are 4 monogenetic cones with blocky lava flows. A western group of small volcanoes, Hoyada, Lagunita and Loma Negra, with a total volume of -0.2 km3, are composed of amphibole-bearing basaltic andesite, and the eastem, more voluminous Hoyo Colorado volcano, with 0.44 km3 is composed of olivine (+ oxidised amphibole) basaltic andesite. Although data indicate they were emitted through successive, strombolian eruptions, they are overall coeval and the youngest Late Pleistocene volcanoes located in an "extra-Andean" setting, -70 km east of the main volcanic front. The magmas of the westem group of monogenetic cones show petrographic and geochemical characteristics that support processes of crustal interaction during ascent. In contrast, the magmas of the Hoyo Colorado volcano had a more direct ascent. Structural characteristics of the basement rocks to the volcanoes and the current seismotectonic activity of the Andes at this latitude indicate that the monogenetic cones of Río Salado were emplaced in a dominantly compressive tectonic regime.

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