Magma Pulsing and Internal Structure of the Torres del Paine Laccolith (Patagonia) Constrained by High Precision Zircon U-Pb Dating, and Thermal and Crystal Size Modeling of its Contact Aureole.
Abstract:The shallow Torres del Paine Intrusive Complex (TPIC) belongs to a trench-parallel belt of igneous bodies in Southern Chile and Argentina. It is located in a transitional position between the Patagonia Batholith in the West, and the alkaline Cenozoic plateau lavas in the East. Volumetrically small amounts of magmatism started around 28 my ago in the Torres del Paine area. A second period occurred between 17-16 Ma, and igneous activity peaked with the TPIC 12.59-12.43 Ma ago. Finally, very minor magmatism occurred less than a million year ago. Intrusion depth, estimated based on contact metamorphic assemblages, decreased from ca. 10-12km at 17 Ma to ca. 3km at 12.5 Ma, the latter depth corresponding well with hornblende thermobarometry in mafic rocks and the water saturated granite solidus compositions observed.
The TPIC is composed of a granitic laccolith emplaced over 90ka (1) in 3 several 100m thick sheets, forming an overall thickness of nearly 2 km. The granitic laccolith is under-plated by a ca. 400m thick mafic laccolith, built up over 50ka (2), constructed bottom up. Each sheet is itself composed of a multitude (>10) of metric to decametric pulses with mostly ductile contacts, resulting in outcrop patterns resembling braided stream sediments.
Thermal modeling of the contact metamorphism, including heat of crystallization and the enthalpy of metamorphic reactions constrains the granite intrusion temperature to ca. 1000°C. Peak metamorphic temperatures suggest that intrusion of magma had to occur in a rapid succession of pulses, preferentially along the granite-host rock contact. Enthalpy released due to hydration of the biotite and feldspar of the immature sediments in the outer aureole contributed significantly to the far-field temperatures in the host-rock.
Numerical crystal growth models matching the crystal size distribution indicate significant overstepping during onset of the contact metamorphic reactions. Nevertheless, sharp isogrades are predicted by the models at peak temperatures close to T-estimates obtained from phase equilibrium.
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