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Erde 48 (1988), 177-189

VEB Gustav Flscher Verlag Jena

Instltut und Museurr~fur Geolog~eund Palaontologle der Univerritiit, Tublngen, B R D

Irlvtltuto de Investigaclones ElBctricas, Cuernavaca, Mexico
Instltut fur Geow~ssenschaften,Lehrelnheit Mineralogie, Johannes-Gutenberg-UnlversitatMaanz,

Major Element Geochemistry and Tectonic Setting of Las Derrumbadas

Rhyolitic Domes, Puebla, Mexico ,

Geochemie der Hauptelemente und Tektonik im Gebiet der rhyolithischen Dome

Las Derrumbadas, Bundesstaat Puebla, Mexiko
With 8 Figures

Geochem~stryand f ~ e l dobservation of Pllocene to Recent blmodal volcan~crocks from the
area of Las Derrurnbadas rhyolitlc twin domes In east-central Mex~coand fleld observations
suggest that this reglon 1s one of crustal extension characterized by normal faultlng and horst
and graben structnres. The presence of fumaroles and associated altered rocks lndlcates a n active
geothermal system. The lmmed~atesource of heat for the geothermal phenomena is probably a
shallow-level sllicic magma reservoir. Geologtcal field evidence lndlcates t h a t the rhyolltic domes
were extruded over a short period of time and are probably much younger than previously esti-
mated by H-Ar dating. Contemporaneous basalt vent? and andesite flows a t the periphery of
thesilicic domes 5uggest some genetic relationships between them. However, the rhyolitic magmas
may contain an upper slahc crustal component and thls may be controlled by the degree of
extensional tectonics.

Die bimodale cherninche Z~isen~nienset~zung der quartliren Vulkanite den Gebietes der rhyoli-
thischen Zwillingsclorne Las Derrurnbadas im ostlichen Zentral-Mexico ist ein Indiz dafur, daB in
dieser Region die K r ~ t s t eunter Dehnung steht; dementsprechend kornmen Abschiebungen und
Horst- und Graben,strukturen vor. Fumarolentcitigkeit sowie die damit verbundene starke
Zersetzung der Gesteine weisen auf ein aktives geothermisches System hin, dessen Wiirrnequelle
in einer Si-reichen Magmakammer, die sich in geringer Tiefe betinden diirfte, zu suchen ist. Mehrere
Anzeichen sprechen fijr eine kurze Extrusionsdauer der Dome und lassen auf ein wesentlich jiin-
geres Alter der Dome schlleBen, als bmher a n Hand einer R-Ar-Datierung angenornmen wurde.
Basaltische Schlackenkegel und andwitische Lavastrdme kommen a n der Peripherie der rhyoli-
thlschen Dome vor. Die enge zeitliche uncl ritumliche Beziehung, in der diese chemisch so unter-
schiedllchen Gestelne zuelnander stehen, legt eine genetlsche Verwandtschaft nahe. Die rhyoli-
thlschen Magmen durften eine Iiomponente aus der oberen sialischen Kruste enthalten, wobei
der Antell dieser Iiomponente vom Ausmal3 der Dehnungstekton~kin diesem Raum kontrolliert

1. Introduction
The area under study is located in the eastern part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic
Belt (TMVB), an approximate E-W structure which extends from the Pacific coast
to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (Big. 1). The belt consists of a large number of Late
1 3 Chem. Erde, Bd.48
178 C. SIEBEand S. P. VERMA

Fig. 1. Location of the study area (the n ~ a p

is simplified after DEMAXTand ROBIN
(1975) and VERMA(1983); TMVB = Trans-
Mexican Volcanic Belt).

Tertiary and Quaternary cinder cones, maars, domes and stratovolcanoes, whose
chemical and mineralogical compositions are mainly characterized by calc-alkaline
series (PALet al. 1978; AGUILAR-Y-VARGAS and VERMA1987). Although several
hypotheses for the origin of the TMVB have been proposed (see recent reviews by
VERMA1985, 1987), most authors (e.g., MOLNARand SYKES1969; MOOSER 1972;
et al. 1982; NIXON1982) relate it to the subduction of the Cocos plate beneath the
North American plate. However, the volcanic front does not lie directly above the
seismically detected, deepest part of the Wadati-Benioff zone but to the north of it
(HANUSand VANEK1978; NIXON 1982).
Las Derrunlbadas rhyolitic twin domes, with fumarolic activity and extensive
rock alteration, situated in the middle of the closed basin of SerdAn-Oriental, are of
importance due to their geothermal potential (YAREz-GARCIAand CASIQUE1980).
The basin itself represents the eastermost part of the Mexican Altiplano. I t has a n
area of about 15,000 km2 and an altitude of approximately 2,300 m a.s.1. It is sur-
rounded by Miocene to Quaternary strato-volcanoes and calderas of mainly andesitic
to dacitic composition (WEYL 1977; ROBIN and CANTAC+REL 1982; FERRIZ and
MAHOOD1984).-several lava flows, cinder cones and maars occur in addition to the
Las Derrumbadas domes, although the latter are the most prominent volcanic
structures in the basin. This study reports on the domes and the monogenetic structures
in their immediate vicinity.

2. Geology and Petrography

A simplified map after SIEBE(1985)is shown in Fig. 2 in which the sample locations
are also included. The following geological summary is a synthesis of investigations
carried out by YAREZ-GARCIA and CASIQUE(1980) and SIEBE(1985).
The entire area is underlain by Cretaceous limestones which were intensively
folded during the Laramide orogenesis and intruded by a shallow level monzonite
about 32 Ma') ago (YA~Ez-GARCIA and CASIQUE 1980). Terrigenous and lacustrine
sediments were deposited after uplift during the Tertiary and are intercalated with
the products of volcanic activity which probably commenced in the Miocene/Pliocene
(NEGENDANK et al. 1985). The terrigenous and lacustrine deposits do not crop out
in the area but are documented as xenoliths in the tuffs of the maar San Luis Atexcac
(SIEBE 1985). Good morphological preservation of the volcanic structures indicates

1) Ma = 10' years
Major Element Geochemistry and Tmtonic Setting
180 C. SIEBEand S. P.VERMA

that the overwhelliling majority is of Quaternary age. The surface geology of the area
is dominated by the twin domes Las Derrumbadas and their extensive talus deposites.
The oldest clastic units show typical features of explosive volcanic activity accom-
panied by torrential rainfalls and inudflows. They can therefore be directly connected
with the extrusion of the rhyolitic material. The younger units consist of laharic-
fluvial materials which are coarse, unsorted and nearly always unconsolidated. Their
genesis is strongly related to the unstable nature of the slopes of these highly degraded
domes. The domes must have been extruded in s quasi-solid state over a relatively
short period of time. The solid state is documented by the autobrecciated character
of the rock. YABEZ-GARCIA and CASIQUE(1980) reported a K-Ar date of 320,000 years
for the domes, a date that has been adopted by NEGENDANK et al. (1985). The intense
degradation of the domes apparently seems to support this dating, but several lines
of field evidence indicate a much younger age. In addition to the nearly complete
lack of soil, the strongest argument supporting a much younger age is the moundy
surface of some the oldest deposits, a morphological feature that must have been
acquired by drainage directly after deposition. If the domes really were as old as
indicated by the K-Ar measurements, this feature would have been completely eroded
away since the basin of Serdan-Oriental contained extensive lakes during the ice-ages
(OHNGEMACH and STRAEA 1983). In this context it should be mentioned that the
K-Ar method might not be suitable for certain types of extremely young rocks and
that 14C measurements on the organic matter lying unconformably below the pyro-
clastic deposits of the domes would be more reliable. I t is likely that the sample of
the rhyolitic domes dated has an inherited initial 40Ar, resulting in an anomalously
high date. According to the estimates based on morphological observations, the age
of the domes might range between 10,000 and 40,000 years (SIEBE1985).
Both domes consist of a grey monotonous rhyolite with biotite and resorbed
plagioclase phenocrysts lying h a glassy matrix stippled with feldspar crystals and
minor opaques. Additionally they contain sporadic phenocrysts of garnet, which may
suggest an anatectic origin of this rock. The fumaroles which can be observed on
many parts of the SW-dome are indicative of a still active geothermal system probably
induced b y 8 shallow level magma reservoir. The large number of sites on both domes
showing intense alteration of the rock (mainly kaolinitization) reveals that the
fumarolic activity must have been much more intense in the past. At the periphery
of the domes several monogenetic structures such as the maars, cinder cones and
lava flows occur (SIEBE 1986). The juvenile products of the maars San Luis Atexcac
and Tepexitl consist mainly of an obsidian with biotite and resorbed plagioclase in a
glassy matrix stippled with tiny feldspars. The obsidian frequently shows a fluidal
structure. The banded tuffs of the maar Cerro Toxtepec contain a pyroxene-andesite
with zoned plagioclase and orthopyroxene in a glassy matrix, with second generation
feldspars and minor opaques. The block-lava flows Piedras Negras and Cerro Alto
are dark, high-silica andesites with biotite, hornblende, orthopyroxene and zoned
plagioclase in a glassy matrix with feldspar and minor opaques, zircon and apatite.
Contrasting with this the scoria and cinder cones all consist of olivine basalt with
idiomorph& olivine phenocrysts containing picotite inclusions. Additionally they
have subordinate clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene in a glassy matrix with very-
small feldspar and pyroxene crystals associated with magnetite and apatite grains.

3. Geochemistry
Thirty major element analyses were carried out by X-ray fluorescence spectro-
metry a t the Instituto de Investigaciones Electricas in Cuernavaca (Mexico). The
experimental details are given by GUEVARA and VERMA(1987). Major oxide abundan-
Table 1. Major element chemistry and CIPW norm of the volcmio mcks from the Laa Derrumbadas area. All oxides were determined by X-ray
~~~~~~~~ce spectrometry. A computer pagram written by M. P. V ~ MetAal. (1976)following the method of KELSEY(1965)was used for CIPW
norm calculations. The abbreviations used in the Table are: Salic = sum of sttlic nonnative minerals; Femic = sum of ~naficnonnative minerals;
C.T. = Crystsllization Index ( P O L D ~ V A Aand 1964);D.I. = Differentiation Index (THORNTON and TUTTLE1960); 8.1. = Solidification
Indsx (Hu~c~rsohi 1974);A.R. = Alkalinity Rrrth (WBIGHT 1969)

E.O1 E.02 E.03 E.04 E.05 E.06 E.07 E.08 E.09 E.10 E.11
Obsidian Obsidian Obsidian Rhyalite Obsidian Obsidian Rhyolite Rhyolite Rhyolite Rhyolite Obsidian
SiO, 74.11 73.67 75.13 76.16 74.53 72.49 72.97 72.19 71.49 71.98 76.47
TiO* 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.06 0.06 0.16 0.14 0.13 0.12 0.12 0.06
A1zoa 13.20 13.68 13.75 13.66 13.88 14.81 14.76 16.03 15.63 15.24 14.05
FeaO~ 1.38 1.37 1.32 1.44 1.49 2.71 2.42 2.43 2.41 2.49 1.52
MnO 0.06 0.05 0.05 0.06 0.06 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.06
M e 0.09 0.11 0.09 0.14 0.22 0.24 0.18 0.26 0.14 0.19 0.16
CaO . 0.70 0.73 0.76 1.06 1.01 1.84 1.71 1.03 1.74 1.73. 0.92
N%o 4.04 4.06 4.05 4.06 4.51 4.38 4.46 4.85 4.81 4.00 4.64
KeO 3.85 3.86 3.89 3.61 3.54 3.26 3.26' 3.37 3.44 3.51 3.63
pao, 0.06 0.05 0.06 0.05 0.06 0.08 0.08 0.08 0.08 0.08 0,05
Sum .97.49 97.50 99.11 100.28 100.35 100.01 100.01 100.01 39.90 99.98 101.36
(2 29.76 30.58 32.32 30.86 29.62 27.29 27.79 24.52 23.83 25.16 22.01
0 1.17 1.59 1.57 1.19 0.87 0.89 0.96 0.61 0.99 0.89 0.99
'a 21.07 22.24 22.34 19.78 19.86 18.58 18.67 19.23 19.67 20.06 17.18
Ab 32.56 33.41 33.31 31.78 36.23 36.74 36.30 39.63 39.38 37.65 31.56
An 3.00 3.21 3.36 4.57 4.46 8.30 7.68 7.30 7.85 7.80 3.48
Di (Mg) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Di (Fe) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
HY (%) 0,21 0.27 0.22 0.32 0.62 0.58 0.43 0.63 0.34 0.46 0.33
HY (Fee] 6.67 4.89 3.86 6.36 4.78 4.68 4.41 4.32 4.26 4.28 13.87
01(FO) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
01 (FA) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mt 4.91 3.64 2.87 184 3.58 3.58 3.43 3.35 3.29 3.31 10.42
I1 0.06 0.06 0.06 0.09 0.09 0.29 0.26 0.24 0.22 0.22 0.09
AP 0.11 0.12 0.18 0.11 0.11 0.18 0.18 0.18 0.18 0.18 0.10
Salic 88.15 91.03 92.89 88.18 90.92 90.78 91.30 91.30 91,71 91.55 76.19
Femio 11.85 8-97 7.12 11.82 9.08 9.22 8.70 8.71 8.30 8.36 24.81
C.I. 3.15 3.40 3.50 4.80 4.81 8.70 7.96 7.74 8.08 8.12 3.71
D.I. 83.98 86.23 87.97 82.42 85.61 81.60 82.67 83.38 82.87 82.87 70.72
S.I. 0.63 0.76 0.69 0.83 1.49 1.68 1.28 1.80 0.98 1.34 0.53
A.R.. 3.63 3.43 3.42 3.17 3.36 2.70 2.76 2.95 2.81 2.83 3.34
182 C. SIEBEand S. P. VERMA

.- mmct-ro*-a.mme4 3 c m w ~ m m o m c o ~~ l m ~c - * c c l
* o ~ - c c - * ~ c c~ ~ ~ , m e o c ~ m o ao t ~
- e- ~c o em
We: t- c
4 3 m O C 3 t-
Major Element Geochemistry and Tectonic Set,ting 183
184 C. SIEBEand S. P. VERMA

Fig. 3. IC,O-SiO, relationship for Las Der-

rumbadas volcanic rocks. The boundaries
and nomenclature are from PECCERILLO
l ~ n dTAYLOR (1976). The symbols used are:
(open circle) = maars, samples E.O1-E.05
and E.22 (mainly rhyolites); (filled triangle)
= domes, samples E.06-E.16 and E.18 to
E.19 (mainly rhyolites); (star) = lava flows,
samples E.17 and E.20-E.21 (mainly
andesites); (filled square) = cinder and
scoria cones, samples E.23-E.31 (mainly
olivine basalts).

Fig. 4. Total alkalis/SiOt relationship for Las Derrunlbadas volcanic rocks i n a diagram after
KUNO(1966). Curve C (after MACDONALD and I ~ A T S U R1964)
A separates the tholeiitic and the
alkaline series.

ces and CIPW nornls are given in Table 1. Low sums (especially for obsidians) nlay
be clue to H,O contents which were unfortunately not determined.
The major element data are plotted in binary and ternary diagralns (Figs. 3-7).
Chenlical rather than nlineralogical criteria are used for rock classification (PECCE-
RILLO and TAYLOR1976). The volcanic rocks from Las Derrulnbadas area do not
represent one single series on the Si0,-K,O diagram; instead, they belong to both
calc-alkaline and high-K calc-alkaline series or trends (Fig. 3). This "dual" character
Major Element Geochemistry and Tectonic Setting 185

Fig. 5. AFM ternary plot (A = K,O f

Na,O, F = total Fe as Fe,Oa M = MgO)
of Las Derru~nbadas volcanics. Ci~rvesa
ancl b delimit the calc-alkaline series;
curve c denotes the differentiation path for
J \ the Skaergaard Intrusion.

Fig. 6. Variation diagram of oxides against SiO, for the Las Durrulnbadas volcariic rocks.

is apparent in other diagrams as well. Similar observations were also made by VERMA
and LOPEZ-M.(1982) for a nearby area of Los Humeros caldera. Thus on total alkalis
(Na,O + K,O) versus SiO, plot (Fig. 4) the rocks under study belong to both the
high-alumina basalt and alkali rock series of Kuno (1966). Curve C divides the diagram
into 2 fields, the alkali basalt and tholeiitic basalt series of MACDONALD
(1964) and shows a n overall sub-alkaline character of the mafic rocks which are
partly Ne-normative (see Table 1).The conventional AFM diagram (Fig. 5) shows
a typical calc-alkaline trend for Las Derrumbadas volcanics. Fig. 6 gives binary
plots of several oxides against SiO, (Harker diagrams).
186 C. SIEBEand S. P.VERMA

1Color Index

20- * A

30- O *
40- ' Basalt

- i:
Basalt Andesite Dacite Rhyolite
% SiO,
7 8
Fig. 7. Plot of color-index (sum of t.he mafic normative minerals) versus SiOs for Las Derrumbadas
Fig. 8. Histogram plot of cstimated volume of exposed volcanic rock? against SiO,, in Las Der-
rumbadas area.

The rocks from Laa Derrumbadas do not re~resenta continuous com~ositional


series. Instead, they fall into 3 distinct rock-populations with characteristic chemical
and mineralogical compositions (Figs. 3-8 and Table 1). This observation becomes
even more evjdent from Figs. 7 and 8, in which the rock color-index and erupted
rock-volume respectively are plotted against SiO,. The rhyolites comprise the high-
silica, most voluminous group (Si0270 %) and contain garnet as an accessory mineral.
A second group consists of high-silica andesites (SiOa = 58-60 %) which have pyroxene
and hornblende. Olivine basalts (SiO, = 50-53 %) containing olivine phenocrysts
make up the third group. They have relatively high Cr and Ni contents and are
slightly Ne-normative (Table 1).The 3 rock-populations are separated by silica gaps
which-are unlikely the result of unrepresentative sampling.

4. Tectonic setting
Bimodal volcanism is a close spatial and temporal relationship of basalts and
rhyolites (e.g., basaltic vents flanking rhyolitic centers), whereby minor volumes of
rocks of intermediate composition can also occur. The occurrence of bimodal volcanism
has been extensively reported from the Basin and Range province of the western
U.S.A. (ROQUEMORE 1980; BACONet al. 1980; DUFFIELD et al. 1980; CRECRAFT
et al. 1981) end is supposed to be related to the extensional regime of horst and graben
tectonics (CHRISTIANSEN and LIPMAN1972 ; LACHEXBRUCCH and SASS1978). Further-
more, many of the described volcanic fields from the Basin and Range region also
show extensive fumarolic activity and an increased heat flux. On the basis of our
Major Element Geochemistry and Tectonic Setting 187

field observations and geochemical results we suggest that the tectonic style of the
Basin of Serd4n-Oriental might be similar to the volcanic fields in the Basin and
Range province. This is confirmed by the geophysical observat,ions of MENAand
GOKZALEZ-MORAN (1978), whose interpretation of gravity data indicates block-
faulting and a complex graben system in the basin of SerdAn-Oriental.
For the genesis of t,he volcanics in the Las Derrumbadas area, the presence of
compositional gaps suggests at first sight that the silicic rocks were derived by partial
fusion of crustal rocks by intrusion of mantle-derived basaltic magmas (e.g. HOLMES
1931; SBITH and SHAW1975; EICHELBERGER and GOOLEY1977). However, based
011recent radiogenic isotope results on basaltic and rhyolitic rocks from the study area
(VERMA, unpublished data 1987), a more realistic model may involve extensive frac-
tional crystallization processes (perhaps similar to the ones recently proposed by
VERMA(1984), for a nearby area of Los Humeros), in combination with crustal
assimilation. Such a combined assimilation-fractional crystallization model (e.g.
TAYLOR 1980; DEPAOLO 1981; BACOK et al. 1984; MYERSet al. 1984) is under pre-
paration for the Las Derrumbadas area and will be described elsewhere.

5. Conclusions
The Quaternary Las Derrumbadas domes were extruded over a short period of
time and are probably nluch younger than 320,000 years as previously estimated
by the K-Ar method. The compositional gaps in the volcanics from the study area
support the idea of an extensional tectonic stress field and that the SerdQn-Oriental
basin is a colnplex graben structure. The fumarolic activity is evidence of an active
geother~nalsystem, which is probably induced by a shallow level magma reservoir.
Furt,her work is needed to quantitatively assess the geothermal potential of the

We are grat,eful to the staff of the Departamento de Geotermia, I n ~ t i t ~ u de
t o Investigaciones
Electricas in Cuernavaca, especially to MYRNAGUEVARA, GEORGINA IZQUIERDO, RICARDO OLIVER
and VICTORAGUILARfor help in the laboratory. RIGOBERTO TOVAR (Comisi6n Federal de Electrici-
clad, Morelia) provided valuable field assistance. We are further indebted to KLAUS-DIETERBALICE
(Tiibingen) and HEINZ-JURGEN TOBSCHALL (Mainz) for reading earlier versions of the manuscript.
We also wish to thank BRIANHASKELL (Tiibingen) for invaluable linguistic comments. The manu-
script was revised when the second author (SPV) was Alexander von Humboldt Fellow a t Jo-
hannes-Gutenberg-Universitiit and Marx-Planck-Institut, Mainz.

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Authors' addresses: Dip1.-Geol, CLAUS SIEBE, Geologisch-Paliiontologisches Institut der

Universitnt, SigwartstraDe 10, D 7400 Tiibingen, FRG (present address: Department of Geology,
A r i z o ~ ~St,ate
a University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA);
Dr. SURENDRA P. VERMA,Departmento de Geotermia, Divisi6n de Fuentes de Energia, Instituto
de Invaqtigacionaq EIBctricas, Cuernavaca, Mor. 62000, Mexico (permanent address), and presently
a t Institut fiir Geowissenschaften, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universitlit,SaarstraDe 21, D 6600 -
Mainz, FRG (earlier publications of this author are also under the name of 3. PAL).
"Major Eleriient Geochemistry and Tectonic Setting of Las Derrunibades Rhyolitic
Domes, Yuebla, Mexico"
Chem. Erde 48 (1988), p. 177-189 (Table 1) by C. SIEBEand S. P. VERMA

Line Column corr, values