Dynamics of the Active Altiplano Puna Magmatic Body: Large-Scale Melt Transport and Buoyant Upwelling

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:10 PM
Mikel Diez, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8, United Kingdom and Rodrigo Del Potro, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
A wide range of geophysical observations suggest that an active partially molten region (Altiplano Puna Magmatic Body or APMB) lies in the mid-upper crust of the Altiplano Puna Plateau, in the Central Andes, with its upper contact at around 20 km depth. In particular, gravity, magnetotellurics and seismics have helped delineating the overall geometry of this intrusive body, which is approximately 200 km in diameter and could be many kilometers thick. The average melt fraction is poorly constrained, although it has been suggested that it could be rather high, around ~15% or higher. In addition to constraining the general shape of the APMB, its dynamics can in principle be partially accessed through geodetic measurements at the surface. In fact, recent InSAR-related studies have shown a ground deformation rate in the order of centimeter per year, with a central uplifting region, centered roughly around a lava-dome complex type of system, Uturuncu volcano, surrounded by an extensive peripheral zone of subsidence. This wealth of observations has leaded us to propose two different hypotheses to partially explain the inner workings of the APMB: (i) the dynamic deformation of the uplift-subsidence of the surface is explained by the impingement of a buoyant melt-rich blob on the more brittle upper levels of the crust, and; (ii) such surface deformation could be associated to the poroviscous compaction induced by lateral melt transport toward a central region of ascent. Both scenarios are modeled numerically. In principle the two hypotheses could explain the rate and geometry of subsidence under some simplifications. We discuss the consequences of both hypotheses, and entertain the possibility of both processes operating together.