Bosque de Tlalpan pumice, product of a large-magnitude eruption at the southwestern margin of the Mexico basin

  • José Luis Arce Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cd. Universitaria, Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
  • Diana Cruz-Fuentes Escuela Superior de Ingeniería y Arquitectura (ESIA), Ticomán, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
  • Angel Ramírez-Luna Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cd. Universitaria, Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
  • Iván Andrés Herrera-Huerta Escuela Superior de Ingeniería y Arquitectura (ESIA), Ticomán, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
  • Patricia Girón-García Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cd. Universitaria, Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
Keywords: plinian eruption, Bosque de Tlalpan pumice, Late Pleistocene, Sierra de Las Cruces, basin of México, Mexico.

Abstract

In this contribution we describe a white pumice fall deposit, informally named pómez Bosque de Tlalpan (PBT), found in several outcrops in the southern Mexico basin. The most representative sequence occurs at the Bosque de Tlalpan park, Delegación Tlalpan, in Mexico City. In this site the deposit is 3 m thick, massive, and contains 80–90 vol. % of pumice clasts, predominantly of coarse lapilli-sized and some block-sized fragments. The PBT has a dacitic composition (64.9–66 wt. % SiO2, on anhydrous basis) of calc-alkaline affinity, and a mineral assemblage represented by plagioclase > amphibole > orthopyroxene > biotite, ±Fe-Ti oxides, with quartz in lesser proportions, and zircon as accesory mineral, in a vesicular and glassy matrix. According to data collected from seven outcrops, thickness and clast size of the deposit decrease towards the NE and therefore the vent source should be located to the SW of Bosque de Tlalpan. Possible sources are the volcanoes Ajusco and San Miguel, which are part of the Sierra de Las Cruces volcanic range, and are located in this direction at ~11 km from Bosque de Tlalpan. The age of the PBT deposit was determined by radiocarbon dating of underlying paleosoils that yielded 25,730 ± 130 to 37,450 ± 330 yrs B.P. (Late Pleistocene). Additionally, thermoluminscence dating of one sample yielded an age of 30,300 ± 5,000 years, similar to the radiocarbon ages. Hence, the PBT represents the youngest reported deposit from the Sierra de Las Cruces volcanic range. Although only seven outcrops were described in this work, we interpret the PBT deposit as produced by a plinian-type eruption, based on its massive structure, its ca. 3 m thickness, and the presence of pumice clasts in coarse lapilli to block sizes, as well as 3.5 cm sized lithics, at 11 km from the possible vent source, characteristic of this kind of deposits. We discard the monogenetic volcanoes from the Chichinautzin volcanic field as the vent source of the PBT deposit, because this kind of volcanoes is relatively mafic in composition and do not produce plinian-type deposits.

Published
2017-11-29
Section
Articles