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Southward Migration of Magmatic Activity in the Colima Volcanic Complex, Mexico: An Ongoing Process

DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2015.69085, PP. 1077-1099

Keywords: Colima Volcanic Complex, Magma Chambers, Colima Volcanoes, Gravimetric Modeling, Magnetic Modeling

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Abstract:

The Colima Volcanic Complex trends in a nearly N-S direction in western Mexico, and one of itsstructures, Colima volcano, is the most historically active volcano in the country. Immediately to theN, there is another volcanic center called El Cántaro volcano, whose activity started around 1.7 Ma in its N portion and migrated to the S in various episodes. Volcanic activity migrated further south, from El Cántaro to the Colima Volcanic Complex where the southernmost manifestation, Hijos del Volcán domes, is located on the south slope of Fuego volcano. The above date appears to mark initiation of the rather continuous volcanic activity in the area. It has been noted that these volcanic manifestations lie on, or near the Rivera-Cocos inland plate boundary. Colima’s Fuego volcano is also the closest to the Middle America Trench, among the polygenetic volcanoes in Mexico. We submit that the anomalous location of volcanism in this area originates in an anomalous subduction process of the Rivera and Cocos plates and evoke a tectonic model, proposed elsewhere, to support the idea. Modeling gravimetric and aeromagnetic data we locate the magma chambers of the Fuego (active) and Nevado (extinct) volcanoes within a 65 mGals negative Bouguer anomaly elongated in a nearly N-S direction. The corresponding aeromagnetic map displays a magnetic high over the southern portion of the Fuego volcano edifice. We found two additional, associated structures whose anomalies have not been previously reported, which appear to follow the southward magmatic migration pattern. One of them is a collapse structure with a circular topographic expression, and the southernmost is a low-density intrusion ~1 km below sea level, associated with a moderate topographic bulge at the surface that we interpret as a magma body. Five lines cross the anomalies; gravimetric and magnetic fields are concurrently modeled along them to locate the magmatic bodies. In addition to the 2-D models we perform 3-D gravimetric and magnetic inversions. For each field a 3-D mesh is built under the area occupied by the Colima Volcanic Complex, the volume elements are then assigned density or magnetic susceptibility values and their surface contributions in various points are evaluated. The process is

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