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Late tertiary volcanic episodes in the area of the city of Santiago de Chile:

new geochronological and geochemical data


M. Vergara
a,
*
, L. Lopez-Escobar
b
, J.L. Palma
a
, R. Hickey-Vargas
c
, C. Roeschmann
d
a
Departamento de Geolog a, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 13518, Correo 21, Santiago, Chile
b
Grupo Magmatico, Instituto GEA, Universidad de Concepcion, Casilla 160-C, Concepcion 3, Chile
c
Department of Earth Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
d
Servicio Nacional de Geolog a y Mineralogia
Received 1 February 2002; accepted 1 June 2004
Abstract
In the area of the city of Santiago de Chile, it is possible to distinguish at least three subvolcanic episodes. The rst is late
Oligocene (30.925.2 Ma), and its products range from basalt to rhyolite. The second episode is early Miocene (22.320.3 Ma), and its
products are two-pyroxene basalts to basaltic andesites. The third episode, though also early Miocene, is slightly younger than the
second (20.316.7 Ma) and produces mainly amphibole-bearing dacitic porphyries.
Samples from the three episodes are medium- to low-K calk-alkaline rocks. All are enriched in LILE relative to N-MORB and have La/Nb
ratios O1.6 and Ba/La ratios O20. Each episode differs from the others in heavy REE concentrations and La/Yb ratios. Sr-, Nd-, and
Pb-isotope ratios for the early Miocene rocks are similar to those of Quaternary volcanic rocks from the central SVZ (37841.58S) of the
Andes and unlike those of the Quaternary of the northern SVZ. Three samples reported here have nearly identical isotope ratios, though the
La/Yb ratios range from 3 to 35.
q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Central Chile; Geochemistry; Geochronology; Miocene volcanism; Sr-, Nd-, and Pb isotopes
Resumen
En el area de la ciudad de Santiago se distinguen, al menos, tres episodios subvolcanicos. El primero es del Oligoceno Tard o (30,9 a
25,2 Ma) y la composicion de sus rocas var a de basaltos a riolitas. El segundo episodio es del Mioceno Temprano (22,3 a 20,3 Ma) y la
composicion de sus rocas es del tipo de basaltos de dos piroxenas a andesitas basaltica. El tercer episodio es tambien del Mioceno Temprano,
pero un poco mas joven que el anterior (20,3 a 16,7 Ma) y su tipo de roca asociado corresponde a pordos de anf bola.
Las muestras de rocas de los tres episodios son calcoalcalinas con contenidos de K bajo a medio. Todas las muestras estan enriquecidas
en LILE relativas a la concentracion del N-MORB, y tienen razones La/Nb O1,6 y de Ba/La O20. Cada episodio es diferente de los otros
en sus concentraciones de HREE y razon La/Yb. Las razones isotopicas de Sr, Nd y Pb de las rocas del Mioceno Temprano son similares a
las rocas volcanicas del Cuaternario de la parte central del SVZ (37841, 58S) de los Andes de Chile y son diferentes a las del extremo
norte del SVZ. Los tres analisis isotopicos aqu presentados, tienen casi identicas razones a pesar de su amplio rango de la razon La/Yb que
cambia de 3 a 35.
q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
We present new geochronological, geochemical, and
isotopic data for Tertiary volcanic and shallow plutonic
rocks that make up the cluster of hills within and adjacent
to Santiago, the capital city of Chile (Figs. 1 and 2).
We discuss four principal belts or clusters of hills (Fig. 1):
(1) the ManquehueSan CristobalSanta Luc a belt, which
has a northeast direction. Its southwestern end (Cerro Santa
Luc a) extends into the middle of the city. It stands out,
like a keel, above the alluvial ll of the Mapocho river;
(2) the Conchal belt to the north includes Cerro Gordo
0895-9811/$ - see front matter q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2004.06.003
Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238
www.elsevier.com/locate/jsames
* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: mariover@cec.uchile.cl (M. Vergara), llopez@
udec.cl (L. Lopez-Escobar), hickey@u.edu (R. Hickey-Vargas).
and Cerro Las Canteras, whose rocks were used to pave the
streets of Santiago in colonial times; (3) Cerro Renca,
south of the Conchal belt, is an isolated hill that also rises
above the alluvial ll of the Mapocho river; and (4) the
AbanicoSan RamonProvincia belt, which is the highest
elevation dominating the Santiago landscape. The last belt
represents the eastern boundary of the city and is separated
from the central valley, or central depression, where the
city is located, by the San Ramon fault (Rauld, 2002).
According to gravimetric data (Avendano and Araneda,
1994), the alluvial ll of the central valley varies from 400
to 800 m thick. Its age is probably PlioceneQuaternary.
The alluvial deposits overlie a concealed basement that, at
depth, exhibits irregular relief and is formed by volcanic and
subvolcanic rocks similar in lithology to the nearby hills.
The hills consist principally of volcanic and subvolcanic
rocks of Tertiary age. Volcanic and volcanoclastic rocks
occur in the AbanicoSan RamonProvincia and Conchal
belts, as well as Cerro San Cristobal and Cerro Renca. The
subvolcanic rocks are represented by porphyritic stocks,
dykes, and necks, most of which are of a basaltic to basaltic
andesite composition. Subvolcanic rocks of dacitic compo-
sition occur at Cerro Manquehue, which limits the northern
part of the city, and at Rinconada de Conchal .
2. Regional geology
The regional geology of the Santiago area has beenstudied
by several investigators. On the geological map of Santiago,
Fig. 1. Satellite image of the area of Santiago de Chile.
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 228
at 1:250,000 scale, Thiele (1980) distinguishes two units: (1)
the Abanico Formation (late CretaceousOligocene) and (2)
subvolcanic rocks, mainly volcanic necks and stocks, of
Miocene age. Wall et al. (1999) provide a geological map of
the TiltilSantiago area at a scale of 1:100,000, and Selles
(1999) has published a geological map of the Santiago
quadrangle at a scale of 1:50,000. These two works,
supported by Ar/Ar dating, corroborate the presence of two
age clusters of Oligocene and Miocene ages only.
Geological works at larger scales, carried out in local
areas, include those of Morike (1896), Katsui and Vergara
(1966), Vergara (1971) and Thiele et al. (1980). Morike
(1896) determines the petrographic characteristics of units
that crop out in the ManquehueSan CristobalSanta Luc a
and Conchal belts. Katsui and Vergara (1966) and Vergara
(1971) provide a geological map of Cerro San Cristobal,
with the rst petrologic data for its rocks, and Thiele et al.
(1980) study the geology of Cerro Renca. Recent strati-
graphic and geochemical studies of the volcanic rocks of
Santiago have been carried out by Selles (1999) and
Nystrom et al. (2003).
The AbanicoSan RamonProvincia belt limits the
eastern part of Santiago. The mountains comprise a huge
stratied pile that reaches more than 3000 m, is intruded by
many stocks and porphyry dikes, and is much larger and
more heterogeneous than the cluster of hills north of the
city. Nystrom et al. (2003) have studied the stratigraphy and
geochemistry of the Abanico Formation, which consists of
basaltic lava ows, silica-rich pyroclastic ows, and
continental lacustrine deposits.
Cerro San Cristobal (899 m a.s.l.) represents the center of
the Manquehue-San CristobalSanta Luc a belt (Fig. 1),
Fig. 2. Geological sketch map of the studied area, including the age of the different units.
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 229
which has a NESW direction. This hill rises 300370 m
above the central valley. Katsui and Vergara (1966)
describe two superimposed units of dacitic to rhyolitic
welded tuffs (ignimbritic pyroclastic ow deposits) that are
dark reddish-brown in color. They have a combined
thickness of 120 m, strike 208408 eastward, and dip
158208 southward. The lower unit is more continuous
than the upper and contains pumice fragments (90%) and
accidental clasts of andesitic composition that can reach 2 m
in diameter (possible lag breccias). The lower unit is cut by
dykes and intrusive domes of dacitic to rhyolitic compo-
sition. The upper welded tuff unit is restricted to small areas
and exhibits glassy ammes, altered to zeolites and other
clay minerals. The latter unit was named San Cristobal
welded tuffs by Selles (1999), who suggests the tuffs also
outcrop in the isolated hills of the Chicureo Valley,
northwest of the San Cristobal exposure, where they are
known as Las Rodr guez welded tuffs. In Cerro Las
Rodriguez (Fig. 2), the welded tuffs present a N308508W/
308608NE direction and delineate, in conjunction with the
San Cristobal welded tuffs, the margins of a possible
collapse caldera (Selles, 1999). Overlying the welded tuffs,
there is an approximately 500-m thick packet of aphanitic
basaltic andesite lavas (El Carrizo; Gana and Wall, 1997),
breccia tuffs, and continental sedimentary rocks. Gana and
Wall (1996, 1997) subdivide them into three units, whereas
Selles (1999) suggests two units, Conchal and Colina.
Herein, we combine the latter two units into a single unit
(basic lavas and lacustrine deposits, Fig. 2).
Field relationships show that the San Cristobal welded
tuffs are intruded by three major subvolcanic bodies that
consist of two pyroxene porphyries, aligned along the same
direction of the whole belt (Katsui and Vergara, 1966): Cerro
San Cristobal, Cerro El Salto, and La Piramide. In addition,
Cerro San Cristobal is intruded by an orthopyroxene andesite
dyke that outcrops at the base of the monument to the Virgin
Mary, which is located at the summit of the hill.
Cerro Santa Luc a, at the southwest end of the
ManquehueSan CristobalSanta Luc a belt in the middle
of Santiago (Fig. 1), is a 300-m thick dyke with a N468E/
608NW orientation (Selles, 1999). Its composition corre-
sponds to a two-pyroxene basaltic andesite. It may have
been a feeder for a larger edice at the foot of Cerro San
Cristobal.
Cerro Manquehue (1638 m a.s.l.), which rises approxi-
mately 1000 m above the central valley, represents the
northeast extreme of the ManquehueSan CristobalSanta
Luc a belt. It is a stock consisting of a hornblende-bearing
dacitic porphyry. The facies present at the summit are ne
grained, but rocks that outcrop at the lowest topographic
levels (e.g. Agua del Palo valley, Rinconada de Conchal
quarries) are coarse grained.
Cerro El Penon is located approximately 2 km NE of the
top of Cerro Manquehue (Fig. 2). It also is a stock that
consists of a hornblende-bearing dacitic porphyry. Its petro-
graphic composition is similar to that of Cerro Manquehue.
Cerro Renca (900 m a.s.l.) is located at the NNW
periphery of Santiago (Fig. 2), rises 400 m above the
Quaternary valley ll, and is an isolated hill (Cerro testigo,
Thiele et al., 1980). It is a subvolcanic stock, consisting of
two-pyroxene basaltic andesite porphyry. This subvolcanic
body intrudes continental volcanic strata (andesitic lava
ows, conglomerates, tuff, and breccia) that belong to the
same rock unit that outcrops at the ManquehueSan
CristobalSanta Luc a belt (Selles, 1999).
The Conchal belt (Fig. 1), comprised of Cerro Gordo and
Cerro Las Canteras, is located in the NNWpart of the studied
area. Both Cerro Gordo (1481 m a.s.l.) and Cerro Las
Canteras (750 m a.s.l.) are subvolcanic basaltic andesite
porphyries that intrude the El Carrizo basaltic andesite lavas.
3. Petrography
Vergara and Lopez-Escobar (1980) and Lopez-Escobar
and Vergara (1997) have determined the petrographic and
geochemical characteristics of subvolcanic rocks from the
Andean precordillera between Pocuro (338S) and Santiago
(33830
0
S). According to these features, the intrusive bodies
were subdivided into two units consisting of two-pyroxene-
bearing basaltic to basaltic andesite porphyries and their
ne-grained equivalents (dikes and chilled borders) and
amphibole-bearing dacitic porphyries and their ne-grained
equivalents.
Two-pyroxene-bearing basaltic to basaltic andesite
porphyries occur at Cerro Las Canteras, Cerro Gordo,
Cerro Renca, Cerro San Cristobal, and Cerro Santa Luc a.
They are commonly microcrystaline rocks, dark grey to
black in color, and have phenocrysts of (1) plagioclase
(4030%), generally zoned, with a composition of
An65An90; (2) augite (1510%); and (3) orthopyroxene
(510%). The groundmass has a microgranular texture and
is formed by plagioclase microlites, augite, orthopyroxene,
magnetite, and secondary minerals such as small veins and
amigdules of zeolites, calcite, chlorite, and quartz. Olivine
has not been found as either phenocryst or microcryst in the
groundmass.
Porphyritic orthopyroxene andesites are also present but
are sparse. They appear as dykes that cut the two-pyroxene
porphyritic stock of Cerro San Cristobal and contain
phenocrysts of plagioclase (An40An60, 30%) and micro-
phenocrysts of orthopyroxene (20%). Their groundmass is
intergranular and formed by plagioclase microlites and
micrograins of orthopyroxene and magnetite.
The amphibole-bearing dacitic porphyries and their
ne-grained equivalents are found at Cerro Manquehue,
Cerro El Penon, Cerro El Buitre, and Rinconada de
Conchal (Fig. 2). They are holocrystalline rocks, clear to
dark grey in color, with phenocrysts of plagioclase
(2535%; An25An40) and hornblende (510%). The
groundmass is formed by micropegmatites of alkali
feldspar and quartz.
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 230
4. Geochronology
K/Ar and Ar/Ar ages have been obtained for samples from
the following localities: Cerro El Abanico, Morro Las
A

guilas, Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Las Canteras, Cerro


Renca, Cerro Gordo, Cerro Santa Luc a, Cerro Manquehue,
and Cerro El Penon. We show the localities in Fig. 2 and
provide data in Table 1.
Lava ows of the lower member of the AbanicoSan
RamonProvincia belt (Fig. 1) were dated. Three plagio-
clase Ar/Ar age determinations (total fussion) for basaltic-
andesite samples from Cerro El Abanico give values of
30.9G1.9; 25.7G1.0, and 25.6G0.6 Ma (Vergara et al.,
1999) (Fig. 2), which support an Oligocene age for these
volcanic rocks.
Two K/Ar age determinations for samples from the
Cerro San Cristobal welded tuff also have been made.
Drake et al. (1976) measured plagioclase and obtained an age
of 28.3G0.7 Ma; for biotite, Selles (1999) obtained an age of
25.2G1.4 Ma. Also, two plagioclase Ar/Ar ages of 26.6G
1.2 and 23.6G0.8 Ma were determined for samples from the
Morro Las A

guilas basaltic-andesite lavas, which overlie


the Cerro San Cristobal welded tuff (Selles, 1999). According
to these radiometric data, the San Cristobal welded tuffs and
Morro Las A

guilas aphanitic lavas, similar to the Abanico


San RamonProvincia belt, are Oligocene in age.
Table 1
K/Ar and
40
Ar/
39
Ar ages of samples from nearby Santiago hills
Sample Lithology Sample
location
Mineral Age (Ma) %K Ar rad
(ml/g)
%Ar atm Reference
K/Ar Ages
DS-168 Amphibole
dacitic
porphyry
El Penon Amphibole 11.6G1.3 0.353 0.160 71 Selles (1999)
SnCr-03 Orthopyrox-
ene Andesite
San Cristobal Whole rock 13.1G0.9 0.576 0.294 70 This work
GM-1181 Amphibole
dacitic
porphyry
Manquehue Whole rock 16.7G0.9 0.884 0.578 66 Gana and Wall
(1997)
AG-451 Amphibole
dacitic
porphyry
Manquehue Plagioclase 19.5G0.5 0.697 0.532 68 Drake et al.
(1976)
StaL-01 Basaltic
andesite
Santa Luc a Whole rock 20.3G1.9 0.481 0.382 55 This work
AP-01 Amphibole
dacitic
porphyry
Manquehue Amphibole 20.3G5.4 0.198 0.157 90 This work
LS-1 Pyroxene
andesitic
porphyry
Santa Luc a Whole rock 21.1G3.7 0.480 0.396 69 Selles (1999)
DS-191 OpxCCpx
andesitic por-
phyry
Cerro Gordo Whole rock 21.2G1.0 0.721 0.599 54 Selles (1999)
TH-11 OpxCCpx
basaltic-ande-
site porphyry
Cerro Renca Whole rock 21.8G0.5 0.530 0.466 70 Thiele (1980)
H-157 OpxCCpx
basaltic-ande-
site porphyry
Cerro Las
Canteras
Whole rock 22.3G1.8 0.540 0.470 70 This work
DS-243 Ash tuff San Cristobal Biotite 25.2G1.4 0.484 0.478 63 Selles (1999)
SCr-01 Rhyolitic
welded tuff
San Cristobal Plagioclase 28.3G0.7 0.353 1.743 66 Drake et al.
(1976)
40
Ar/
39
Ar Ages
GM-1188 Basaltic
andesite
Morro Las
A

guilas
Plagioclase 23.7G0.8 95 Gana and Wall
(1997)
DE-21 Basaltic
andesite
Morro Las
A

guilas
Plagioclase 26.6G1.2 56 Gana and Wall
(1997)
Rb-07 Basalt Cerro El
Abanico
Plagioclase 30.9G1.9 Vergara et al.
(1999)
Rb-9B Basalt Cerro El
Abanico
Plagioclase 25.6G0.6 Vergara et al.
(1999)
Rb-6A Andesite Cerro El
Abanico
Plagioclase 25.7G1.0 Vergara et al.
(1999)
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 231
Table 2
Major and trace element abundances in the Tertiary volcanic and subvolcanic rocks from the Santiago hills
Sample Rb-07 Rb-9B Rb-6A SCr-01 DS-205 DS-229 StaL-01 TH-11 H-157 LS-1 SCr-02 AP-01 AG-451 DS-241 DS-072
Age 30.9 Ma 25.6 Ma 25.7 Ma 28.3 Ma 2528
Ma(?)
2528
Ma(?)
20.3 Ma 21.8 Ma 22.3 Ma 21.1 Ma 20.3 Ma 19.5 Ma 19 Ma 11.6 Ma
Abanico
Fm
Abanico
Fm
Abanico
Fm
San
Cristobal
Cerro
Blanco
Las
Rodr -
guez
Santa
Luc a
Cerro
Renca
Las Can-
teras
Santa
Luc a
San
Cristobal
Manque-
hue
Manque-
hue
San
Cristobal
(dyke)
El Penon
SiO
2
49.94 50.54 58.54 69.97 68.87 72.15 49.20 51.22 52.01 54.62 57.80 61.10 61.18 55.19 57.63
TiO
2
1.40 1.55 0.73 0.22 0.17 0.15 0.73 0.60 0.72 0.60 1.00 0.61 0.65 0.78 0.80
Al
2
O
3
16.97 16.30 15.53 14.67 15.18 12.09 19.10 19.02 17.60 17.10 16.94 16.05 17.52 18.80 19.20
Fe
2
O
3
(T
calc)
13.00 12.96 8.25 5.05 4.93 2.18 13.94 13.57 13.18 11.75 9.71 5.85 5.95 7.36 6.48
MnO 0.19 0.22 0.13 0.08 0.15 0.06 0.12 0.14 0.14 0.13 0.10 0.06 0.06 0.08 0.08
MgO 3.80 3.77 3.59 0.37 0.67 0.46 2.70 3.59 3.67 2.10 2.33 2.32 2.28 3.13 2.57
CaO 9.14 8.78 6.17 2.68 2.43 2.32 9.09 7.22 7.37 7.95 6.30 5.67 5.55 6.81 6.46
Na
2
O 3.07 3.55 3.42 4.21 4.89 1.65 3.66 3.90 3.71 3.58 3.38 4.91 4.62 5.77 4.89
K
2
O 0.60 0.54 2.04 1.51 1.30 2.86 0.62 0.70 0.54 0.67 1.34 1.30 1.23 0.58 1.29
P
2
O
5
0.33 0.36 0.27 0.12 0.13 0.08 0.18 0.22 0.22 0.20 0.18 0.16 0.15 0.19 0.17
LOI 1.50 1.42 1.84 1.24 2.36 5.63 0.98 1.46 1.32 1.42 1.34 1.98 1.77 3.08 1.70
Total 99.95 100.00 100.51 100.10 101.08 99.63 100.32 101.64 100.48 100.12 100.42 100.01 100.96 101.77 101.27
Rb 25 61 16 9 17
Sr 300 372 107 518 517 460 580 290 750 723 792 776
Ba 520 476 432 205 260 211 220 210 480 454 232 379
Ga
Pb 9 13 5 5
Sc 5 3 4 25 17 19 11 24 5 7 12 9
V 5 13 20 235 127 152 60 175 100 113 166 125
Cr 54 3 4 22 120 15 85 61 19 17
Co 5 6 5 20 19 26 12 13 10 5 20 17
Ni 5 9 11 19 9 3 17 18 15 14
Cu 15 24 13 173 86 61 48 16 53 65 117 79
Zn 83 87 42 75 82 86 88 92 72 84 72 77
Y 16 22 20 16 15 14 13 28 6 5 5 6
Zr 102 120 160 43 56 54 50 95 76 74 44 57
Nb 5.6 3 5 4 4 2.2 3.2 4 5
Hf 2.3 4.2 1.8 2.1 1.8 1 2.1
Ta
Th 3 11 1 2 1 2
La 13.03 14.70 14.74 13 10 12 6 9 6 7 9 9 3 8
Ce 33.5 38.97 39.41 30 26 28 13 21 15 17 21 22 8 20
Nd 17.22 18.57 19.79 17 16 12 7 12 10 11 13 10 6 12
Sm 4.59 5.03 5.19 3.45 3.15 2.06 1.76 2.41 2.70 2.80 3.50 1.76 0.92 1.75
Eu 1.27 1.39 1.02 0.94 0.95 0.40 0.97 1.01 0.95 0.95 1.25 0.59 0.51 0.69
Gd 4.42 4.95 5.01 3.10 3.10 2.65 2.30 2.65 2.90 2.82 4.24 0.85 0.86 1.50
Dy 4.44 4.91 5.15 2.90 3.34 2.78 2.73 2.81 2.76 2.58 4.90 0.73 0.93 1.16
Ho 0.62 0.75 0.78 0.57 0.59 0.56 0.53 1.03 0.14 0.21 0.26
Er 2.56 2.84 3.16 1.75 2.16 2.47 1.57 1.70 1.63 1.54 3.07 0.34 0.41 0.52
Yb 2.38 2.70 3.14 1.79 2.14 2.38 1.55 1.69 1.65 1.48 3.02 0.26 0.39 0.53
M
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No age has been determined for the Cerro San Cristobal
main stock. Presumably, its age is similar to that of Cerro
Santa Luc a. As we mentioned previously, the Cerro San
Cristobal stock is intruded by an orthopyroxene andesitic
dyke that outcrops at the base of the monument to the Virgin
Mary, which is located at the summit of the hill. This dyke
gives a whole-rock KAr age of 13.1G0.9 Ma (Table 1).
The rst K/Ar dating of Cerro Santa Luc a (21.1G
3.7 Ma) was reported by Suarez (1989, Revista del
Domingo, El Mercurio newspaper, Santiago de Chile,
October 8, 1989, in Selles, 1999). We present a new
whole-rock K/Ar age of 20.3G1.9 Ma for a basaltic-
andesite sample (Table 1), which corroborates, within
analytical error, the age reported by Suarez and supports
an early Miocene age for Cerro Santa Luc a.
One sample from the summit of Cerro Manquehue gives
a plagioclase K/Ar age of 19.5G0.5 Ma; one from the base
(Agua del Palo valley) gives an amphibole K/Ar age of
20.3G5.4 Ma (Drake et al., 1976). A third sample collected
north of the Cerro Manquehue summit, probably a younger
satellite intrusion of similar lithology, indicates a whole-
rock K/Ar age of 16.7G0.9 Ma (Gana and Wall, 1996).
These radiometric data indicate that Cerro Manquehue and
its satellite intrusion are both early Miocene, though slightly
younger than Cerro Santa Luc a. Another sample from
Cerro El Penon, of similar composition to those of Cerro
Manquehue, provides an amphibole K/Ar age of 11.6G
1.3 Ma (Selles, 1999). We postulate that the latter Middle
Miocene age and the age of the Cerro San Cristobal dyke
represent subsequent subvolcanic activity unrelated to the
main volcanic events of the ManquehueSan Cristobal
Santa Luc a belt.
A whole-rock K/Ar age of 21.8G0.5 Ma has been
reported for an andesitic porphyry from the summit of Cerro
Renca (Thiele et al., 1980). As we mentioned previously,
this subvolcanic body intrudes continental volcanic strata of
Oligocene age.
mA two-pyroxene porphyritic sample of andesitic com-
position from Cerro Gordo, which belongs to the Conchal
belt, has a whole-rock K/Ar age of 21.2G1.0 Ma (Selles,
1999); another sample of similar composition fromthe Cerro
Las Canteras quarry, which belongs to the same belt, gives a
whole-rock K/Ar age of 22.3G1.8 Ma. These ages indicate
that the Conchal belt is earlyMiocene. BothCerro Gordoand
Cerro Las Canteras also intrude continental volcanic and
volcaniclastic stratied rocks of Oligocene age.
5. Geochemistry
Fifteen samples were selected to characterize the
geochemistry of the volcanic and subvolcanic rocks of
the hills near Santiago de Chile. Table 2 shows their major
and trace element contents and includes data obtained by
Selles (1999). We group chemical analyses according to the
volcanic episodes suggested for the area. Samples SCr-01,
M
a
(
?
)
M
a
(
?
)
A
b
a
n
i
c
o
F
m
A
b
a
n
i
c
o
F
m
A
b
a
n
i
c
o
F
m
S
a
n
C
r
i
s
t
o
b
a
l
C
e
r
r
o
B
l
a
n
c
o
L
a
s
R
o
d
r

-
g
u
e
z
S
a
n
t
a
L
u
c

a
C
e
r
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n
c
a
L
a
s
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a
n
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t
e
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a
s
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a
n
t
a
L
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c

a
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3
7
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4
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4
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0
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2
8
0
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3
4
0
.
4
4
0
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2
5
0
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2
6
0
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2
6
0
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2
3
0
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4
6
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8
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8
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0
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n
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u
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0
1
,
T
h
-
1
1
,
H
-
1
5
7
,
L
S
-
1
,
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C
r
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0
2
,
a
n
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P
-
0
1
w
e
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o
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t
a
i
n
e
d
b
y
I
C
P
-
A
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S
a
t
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D
e
p
a
r
t
m
e
n
t
o
f
G
e
o
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,
U
n
i
v
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s
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C
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.
T
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o
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b
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l
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d
R
b
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0
7
,
R
b
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9
b
,
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6
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t
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A
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a
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m
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d
e
N
a
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,
F
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a
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c
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.
T
h
o
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e
l
a
b
e
l
e
d
D
S
-
2
0
5
,
D
S
-
2
2
9
,
A
G
-
4
5
1
,
D
S
-
2
4
1
,
a
n
d
D
S
-
0
7
2
a
r
e
f
r
o
m
S
e
l
l
e
s
(
1
9
9
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)
.
T
h
e
S
r
,
N
d
,
a
n
d
P
b
i
s
o
t
o
p
i
c
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m
p
o
s
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t
i
o
n
s
(
s
a
m
p
l
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s
L
S
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S
C
r
-
0
2
,
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A
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w
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b
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U
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t
y
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d
a
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d
b
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r
m
a
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a
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n
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s
p
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c
t
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t
r
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t
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a
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n
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g
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s
t
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t
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,
W
a
s
h
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n
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t
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n
(
U
S
A
)
.
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 233
SnLu-01, TH-11, H-157, LS-1, Scr-02, and AP-01 were
analyzed at the Departamento de Geolog a de la Universi-
dad de Chile by ICP-AES. Chemical analyses Rb-07, Rb-9b,
and Rb-9A were obtained by INAA at the Centre de
Recherches Petrographiques et Geochimiques de Nancy,
France. Samples DS-205, DS-229, AG-451, DS-241, and
DS-072 are from Selles (1999).
Most samples from the three volcanic cycles exhibit
medium- to low-K contents (Fig. 3). Those from the
Oligocene volcanic episode range in SiO
2
from basalt to
rhyolite. The two-pyroxene-bearing samples from the early
Miocene episode range from basalt to basaltic andesite, and
the amphibole-bearing porphyries of the third episode are
silicic andesite to dacite.
According to the AFM diagram (Fig. 4), the analyzed
samples are calc-alkaline. However, most basaltic rocks of
the early Miocene volcanic cycle show tholeiitic afnities,
despite being MgOpoor (MgOZ3.72%for SiO
2
Z49.84%).
Samples fromCerro Santa Luc a are Al
2
O
3
rich (O20%) and
could be classied as high alumina basalts because they are
aphanitic, relatively poor in MgO, and rich in total Fe.
Fig. 5a and b show trace element abundances in these
rocks normalized relative to N-MORB. Regardless of SiO
2
content, samples from the three volcanic cycles are enriched
in K, Rb, Sr, Ba, and Th relative to N-MORB, and all are
depleted in high eld strength elements with respect to light
rare-earth elements (REE). These geochemical features are
similar to those exhibited by southern volcanic zone (SVZ)
Quaternary Andean lavas and typical of magmas associated
with subduction zones. Most of the studied samples have
La/Nb ratios O1. 6 and Ba/La ratios O20, which are also
typical of Andean lavas (Hildreth and Moorbath, 1988;
Stern and Skewes, 1995). Signicant differences are
observed, however, in the concentration of the trivalent
elements Y, Yb, and Sc and in the La/Yb ratios (Oligocene
rocksZ3.05.3, early Miocene basaltic rocksZ4.67.2,
Fig. 3. K
2
OSiO
2
variation diagram of the Oligocene and Miocene samples
discussed herein. Labels of the samples are as in Table 2.
Fig. 4. AFM diagram showing that most of the analyzed samples are calc-
alkaline. The boundaries between the tholeiitic and calc-alkaline elds are
from Kuno (1968) and Irvine and Baragar (1971).
Fig. 5. N-MORB incompatible trace element patterns of (a) Oligocene and
(b) Miocene samples. The N-MORB composition used for the normal-
ization is from McDonough and Sun (1995).
Fig. 6. Chondrite-normalized REE patterns of San Cristobal (basalt), Santa
Luc a (andesite; 20 Ma), and Manquehue (dacite; 19 Ma) samples.
Chondrite composition used for normalization is that of McDonough and
Sun (1995).
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 234
and early Miocene amphibole-bearing subvolcanic rocksZ
7.615). As we show in Fig. 6, in the Manquehue-San
Cristobal-Santa Luc a volcanic chain, there is a signicant
increase in the La/Yb ratios, in correlation with decreasing
ages, from San CristobalSanta Luc a (2120 Ma) to
Manquehue (2016 Ma).
Table 2 includes Sr, Nd, and Pb isotope ratios for three
subvolcanic rocks: a basaltic sample from Cerro San
Cristobal, an andesitic sample from Cerro Santa Luc a,
and a dacitic sample from Cerro Manquehue. Sr isotope
ratios range between 0.703745 and 0.703786, and Nd
isotope ratios range between 0.512892 and 0.512911. These
values are similar to those reported by Lopez-Escobar and
Vergara (1997) for three subvolcanic samples collected at
Pocuro, Colina, and Pan de Azucar hills, which are located
at latitudes 33833.58S. The Sr and Nd isotope ratios (Fig. 7)
of all six samples are respectively lower and higher than
those of Quaternary rocks from the northern province of the
SVZ of the Andes (NSVZ; 33834.58S) but similar to the Sr
and Nd isotopes ratios of Quaternary rocks from the central
SVZ (CSVZ; 37841.58S). In Fig. 7, we dene the mantle
array on the basis of isotopic data from the east Pacic
ridge, Chile ridge, Easter Island, and Juan Fernandez
archipelago (Lopez-Escobar and Vergara, 1997). The six
samples have higher Sr and lower Nd isotope ratios than
N-MORB, similar to Sr and Nd isotopic ratios from the Juan
Fernandez archipelago oceanic island basalts (OIB) and
E-MORB from the Chile ridge. 206Pb/204Pb ratios (Fig. 8)
are 18.4518.47, and similar to many subduction-related
rocks, the samples, together with Quaternary volcanic rocks
from throughout the SVZ, are enriched in 207Pb and 208Pb
compared with mantle-derived rocks with similar 206Pb/
204Pb (Fig. 8).
6. Volcanic episodes recorded in the hills near Santiago
The geochronological data for volcanic rocks from the
hills near Santiago record volcanic activity from 30.9 to
16.7 Ma with some gaps of 23 Ma. The ages of 13.1 and
11.6 Ma reported for two small igneous bodies have not
been taken into consideration, because they do not seem
related to the main magmatic episodes. The radiometric
ages, together with the structure and lithology of the
volcanic rocks, suggest the existence of at least three main
volcanic episodes, geographically superimposed and deeply
Fig. 7.
143
Nd/
144
Nd versus
87
Sr/
86
Sr diagram of San Cristobal (basalt;
20 Ma(?)), Santa Luc a (andesite; 20 Ma), and Manquehue (dacite; 19 Ma)
samples in comparison with the NdSr isotope composition of previously
studied Miocene samples from 338 and 33. 5-S; Quaternary rocks from the
SVZ of the Andes between 338 and 41. 58S; oceanic rocks from the east
Pacic ridge and Chile ridge (MORB); and Nazca plate OIB from Easter
Island, Juan Fernandez archipelago, San Ambrosio, and San Felix. Data
used for comparison appear in Lopez-Escobar and Vergara (1997).
Fig. 8. (A)
207
Pb/
204
Pb versus
206
Pb/
204
Pb; (B)
208
Pb/
204
Pb versus
206
Pb/
204
Pb; (C)
208
Pb/
204
Pb versus
207
Pb/
204
Pb diagrams for the Miocene
samples in comparison with the Pb isotope composition of previous studied
Miocene samples from 338 and 33. 58S; Quaternary rocks from the SVZ of
the Andes between 338 and 41. 58S; oceanic rocks from the east Pacic
ridge and Chile ridge (MORB); and Nazca plate OIB from Easter Island,
Juan Fernandez archipelago, San Ambrosio, and San Felix. Data used for
comparison appear in Lopez-Escobar and Vergara (1997).
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 235
eroded. The rst is late Oligocene, and the second and third
are early Miocene in age.
The Oligocene episode is represented by lava ows of the
AbanicoSan RamonProvincia belt (30.925.6 Ma), the
San Cristobal welded tuff (28.325.2 Ma), and the Morro
Las A

guilas aphanitic lavas (26.323.6 Ma). According to


Selles (1999), the areal distribution of the San Cristobal and
Cerro Las Rodr guez deposits looks like an hemicircle,
approximately 13 km in diameter, that dips radially. He
interprets these features as the result of a caldera collapse,
with the outcrops representing the outow sheets surround-
ing the Oligocene caldera. On the basis of their lithology
and age, the San Cristobal welded tuffs can be correlated
with the lava ows of the AbanicoSan RamonProvincia
belt stratied rocks. The bimodal composition of the
volcanic rocks (ca. 3100 m) of Cerro Abanico, basic lavas,
and acid pyroclastic ows and the structural studies and
facies analysis in the Maipo valley of the same rocks suggest
deposition in a extensional basin (Aguirre, 1999; Zurita,
1999; Charrier et al., 2002; Nystrom et al., 2003) with a high
subsidence rate, as deduced from the thermal state of the
organic material. The voluminous pyroclastic ows of the
Cerro El Abanico area (400500 m thick) are consistent
with a caldera-forming eruption. The presence of calderas is
supported by the intercalation of lacustrine deposits in the
pyroclastic sequence and by lateral changes in secondary
mineral assemblages (yugawaralite and wairakite), which
reect steep temperature gradients (Nystrom et al., 2003).
Intrusive bodies of Oligocene age have not been found.
The second volcanic episode is early Miocene, rep-
resented by the Cerro Las Canteras (22.3 Ma), Cerro San
Cristobal, Cerro Renca (21.8 Ma), Cerro Gordo (21.1 Ma),
and Cerro Santa Luc a (21.220.3 Ma) two-pyroxene
basaltic to basaltic andesite porphyries. These hills represent
the roots of eruptive centers that overlie the products of the
Oligocene volcanic episode. The actual distribution of their
outcrops suggests that they belonged to big dome or
stratavolcano complexes, whose locations would corre-
spond to the actual locations of Cerros Las Canteras, Renca,
Gordo, and San CristobalSanta Luc a. On the basis of its
structure and facies, Selles (1999) interprets the Cerro Las
Canteras porphyry as the eruptive center of the Conchal
unit lavas.
The third and last volcanic episode is also early Miocene
but slightly younger than the second episode. It is
represented by the amphibole-bearing dacitic porphyries
of Cerro Manquehue (20.319.5 Ma) and its satellite
intrusion (16.7 Ma). These could have been large strato-
volcanoes that currently are deeply eroded and show a
relatively wide range of ages. In the slopes of Cerro
Manquehue, Selles (1999) nds cylindric bodies that he
interprets as feeder dykes.
These geochronological data suggest that the three
volcanic episodes overlapped in space and were almost
continuous in time, with some gaps of 12 my, from the late
Oligocene to the early Miocene. The orthopyroxene-bearing
andesitic dyke (11.3 Ma) that outcrops at the base of the
monument to the Virgin Mary at Cerro San Cristobal and the
amphibole dacitic porphyry near Cerro El Penon could
belong to a later volcanic event with no other expression in
the studied area.
7. Geochemical features of the volcanic units
Overall, the geochemical characteristics of the volcanic
and subvolcanic rocks are typical of subduction-related
magma. The isotopic characteristics are similar to volcanic
rocks from the Quaternary CSVZ and many intraoceanic
island arcs, and the Sr and Nd isotope ratios are similar to
some OIB from the Nazca plate and E-MORB from the
Chile ridge. According to the mantle-like isotopic values, it
is likely that crustal contamination was not a major factor in
the evolution of the magmas. The relative enrichment in
207Pb, as well as the enrichment in large ion lithophile
elements, exhibited by these Miocene rocks suggests that
material derived from the subducted oceanic crust, notably
from pelagic sediments, was introduced as mantle source
contaminants.
The major difference among the units and samples is the
extent of heavy REE depletion, as reected by the La/Yb
ratios. La/Yb is highest in 1920 Ma rocks from Cerro
Manquehue (Figs. 5 and 6), and there is an overall increase
in La/Yb over time among the Miocene rocks (Selles, 1999).
Several reasons for this change have been proposed, such as
(1) crustal thickening in the early Miocene, accompanied by
the increased contamination of mantle-derived magma by
melts of garnet-bearing lower crust (e.g. Kay et al., 1991;
Kay and Mpodozis, 2002); (2) incorporation into the magma
of tectonically eroded forearc crust at subduction zone
depths (Kay and Mpodozis, 2002); and (3) partial melting of
the subducted slab (Selles, 1999). On the basis of the similar
Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopic ratios reported here for rocks with
widely varying La/Yb ratios from the early Miocene Cerros
Santa Lucia, Santa San Cristobal, and Manquehue, we
believe it is not likely that the increase in heavy REE
depletion was caused by a major change in magma source
materials, at least initially. One probable scenario is that by
approximately 20 Ma, the crust had thickened to the extent
that garnet was just stabilized in underplated gabbroic lower
crust. Partial melting of both the mantle and gabbroic lower
crust produced basaltic to basaltic andesitic and andesitic to
dacitic magmas, respectively, with widely varying La/Yb
ratios but similar isotopic ratios.
8. Discussion and conclusion
On the basis of these geochronological data, the area
where Santiago de Chile is now located and its nearby hills
were the site of almost continous volcanic activity from the
late Oligocene to the early Miocene.
M. Vergara et al. / Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17 (2004) 227238 236
According to Charrier et al. (2002) and Nystrom et al.
(2003), during the late Oligocene, the Chilean continental
margin was characterized by a low rate of subduction that
favored the extension and formation of volcanic sedimen-
tary basins.
During the early Miocene, new volcanic activity started
in the same area as Oligocene volcanism. At least ve big
dome complexes or their (very shallow) intrusive equiva-
lents, emplaced within the cores of eroded stratied
volcanic edices, grew in this area: Cerro Las Canteras
(22.3 Ma), Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Renca (21.8 Ma),
Cerro Gordo (21.1 Ma), and Cerro Santa Luc a (21.2
20.3 Ma). They mainly were located north of the Mapocho
River and their rocks were essentially two-pyroxene bearing
basalts and basaltic andesites. Of these volcanic edices,
only their necks remain; their covers, which probably
consisted of pyroclastic material G lava ows, were
destroyed by erosion.
During the early Miocene (20.316.7 Ma), volcanic
activity continued in this same area, though with less
intensity, and induced a large stratovolcano, Cerro Man-
quehue. This stratovolcano currently is reduced to only the
major neck that outcrops in the summit and some feeder
dykes, whose lithologies correspond to amphibole-bearing
silicic andesite to dacitic porphyries.
By this stage of volcanism, crustal thickness in the area
had increased sufciently to stabilize garnet in lower crustal
lithologies. Thus, whereas the early Miocene basaltic rocks
were generated in an extensional environment, the early
Miocene dacitic rocks mark the beginning of the compres-
sional phase that affected this Andean region between the
Miocene and the Quaternary.
The existence of Oligocene caldera systems in the
Andean Cordillera near Santiago (e.g. Abanico Formation,
w60 km east of Santiago) has been suggested by Levi et al.
(1989), Thiele et al. (1980) and Vergara et al. (1993, 1999),
and Nystrom et al. (2003). They support this hypothesis with
the presence of thick packs of silicic pyroclastic ows,
lacustrine deposits, basic lava ows, and alteration miner-
alogy typical of a geothermal eld (yugowaralite-type
zeolite and wairakite) in the rims of the paleocalderas.
Reectancy determinations in vitrinite from the Abanico
Formation (Zurita, 1999; Charrier et al., 2002) reveal a high
heat ow during deposition, consistent with extension and a
low rate of subduction.
The terrains that conform the hills near the city of
Santiago underwent tectonic uplift and exhumation, which
eroded most of the volcanic cover, so that they display a
basement formed by Oligocene rocks. On the basis of
geochronological studies, Kurtz et al. (1997) show the
existence of two exhumation events in the Andean
Cordillera of central Chile: 19.616.2 Ma, with an exhuma-
tion rate of 0.55 mm/year, and 8.47.7 Ma, with an
exhumation rate of 3 mm/year. On the basis of uid
inclusion determinations, Skewes and Holmgren (1993)
note that the exhumation rate during the last 4.9 Ma has
been only 1.5 mm/year. The rst exhumation event (19.6
16.2 Ma) coincides with an intensity decrease of the
volcanic activity, and the second is subsequent to any
volcanic activity registered in the area. These tectonic
movements probably generated the San Ramon fault, which
separates the AbanicoSan RamonProvincia belt from the
central valley and the ManquehueSan CristobalSanta
Luc a belt.
Acknowledgements
This work was made possible by Proyecto Fondecyt
1020809. LLE acknowledges the support given by Proyecto
Fondecyt (L neas Complementarias) 800-0006, Proyecto
ECOS-CONICYT C97U04 and ECOS-CONICYT CO3
VO1. RHV acknowledges support from NSF:EAR
9725366.
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