30 million years of Permian volcanism recorded in the Choiyoi igneous province (W Argentina) and their source for younger ash fall deposits in the Parana Basin: SHRIMP U-Pb zircon geochronology evidence
We present four SHRIMP U–Pb zircon ages for the Choiyoi igneous province from the San Rafael Block, central–western Argentina. Dated samples come from the Yacimiento Los Reyunos Formation (281.4 ± 2.5 Ma) of the Cochicó Group (Lower Choiyoi section: andesitic breccias, dacitic to rhyolitic ignimbrites and continental conglomerates), Agua de los Burros Formation (264.8 ± 2.3 Ma and 264.5 ± 3.0 Ma) and Cerro Carrizalito Formation (251.9 ± 2.7 Ma Upper Choiyoi section: rhyolitic ignimbrites and pyroclastic flows) spanning the entire Permian succession of the Choiyoi igneous province. A single zircon from the El Imperial Formation, that is overlain unconformably by the Choiyoi succession, yielded an early Permian age (297.2 ± 5.3 Ma), while the main detrital zircon population indicated an Ordovician age (453.7 ± 8.1 Ma). The new data establishes a more precise Permian age (Artinskian–Lopingian) for the section studied spanning 30 Ma of volcanic activity. Volcanological observations for the Choiyoi succession support the occurrence of explosive eruptions of plinian to ultraplinian magnitudes, capable of injecting enormous volumes of tephra in the troposphere–stratosphere. The new SHRIMP ages indicate contemporaneity between the Choyoi succession and the upper part of the Paraná Basin late Paleozoic section, from the Irati up to the Rio do Rasto formations, encompassing about 24 Ma. Geochemical data show a general congruence in compositional and tectonic settings between the volcanics and Paraná Basin Permian ash fall derived layers of bentonites. Thickness and granulometry of ash fall layers broadly fit into the depletion curve versus distance from the remote source vent of ultraplinian eruptions. Thus, we consider that the Choiyoi igneous province was the source of ash fall deposits in the upper Permian section of the Paraná Basin. Data presented here allow a more consistent correlation between tectono-volcanic Permian events along the paleo-Pacific margin of southwestern Gondwana and the geological evolution of neighboring Paleozoic foreland basins in South America and Africa.