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Journal Articles Bulletin of Volcanology Year : 2022

Holocene collapse of Socompa volcano and pre- and post-collapse growth rates constrained by multi-system geochronology

Pablo Grosse
  • Function : Author
Martin Danišík
  • Function : Author
Facundo D. Apaza
  • Function : Author
Silvina R. Guzmán
  • Function : Author
Xavier Quidelleur
Stephen Self
  • Function : Author
Claus Siebe
  • Function : Author
Gabriel Ureta
  • Function : Author
Marcel Guillong
  • Function : Author
Rosanna de Rosa
  • Function : Author
Petrus Le Roux
  • Function : Author
Jörn-Frederik Wotzlaw
  • Function : Author
Olivier Bachmann
  • Function : Author


Volcano sector collapses are catastrophic events that can mobilize huge volumes of material and cause changes in the magmatic plumbing system, leading to variations in growth rate and/or composition. Dating pre-historic volcanic debris avalanche deposits is challenging. Geological materials directly recording avalanche formation and amenable to radiometric dating are rare, and, in the case of Holocene events, the applicable radiometric dating techniques are scarce. Socompa volcano suffered the largest collapse event in the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes, producing one of Earth's most spectacular and best-preserved volcano avalanche deposits. We apply multiple dating techniques to unravel the timing of Socompa's collapse and gain insights into its pre- and post-collapse eruptive history. The age of the collapse event is constrained by a 14C age of 6,200-6,400 BP of a paleosol buried by the avalanche, and by a post-collapse lava flow dated at 5.91 ± 0.43 ka by zircon double-dating. Bayesian age sequence modeling integrating these ages determines that the collapse occurred at 6.18-0.64+0.28 ka. Four zircon eruption dates and one unspiked K-Ar age between 69.2 ± 6.0 and 22.1 ± 1.9 ka constrain the age of the youngest stage of activity before the collapse. The ages, together with paleosurface modeling and volume calculations, allow estimating growth rates for the young pre-collapse and post-collapse stages of ~ 0.2-0.3 km3/kyr and ~ 0.5-2 km3/kyr, respectively, indicating a significant increase in activity after the collapse event. The collapse may have triggered a new growth phase or accelerated an ongoing one and was likely associated with a Plinian eruption that produced widespread pumice fallout. The pre- and post-collapse lavas have similar compositions and zircon crystallization age distributions, suggesting that the same or a similar magma reservoir was tapped before and after the collapse. Thus, huge collapses such as Socompa's event can promote increased volcanic activity as a consequence of the unloading effect, but the overall plumbing system may not be affected enough to show significant variations in erupted compositions, at least transiently. Our results highlight the efficacy of the zircon double-dating method for dating very young felsic lavas and for constraining the age of debris avalanche deposits. This is particularly relevant in the Andean Central Volcanic Zone and other regions with arid climates, where organic material is rare and hence 14C dating is often unfeasible. Furthermore, the post-collapse zircon eruption age of 5.91 ± 0.43 ka is the youngest radiometric age yet obtained for a lava flow in the southern Central Volcanic Zone, highlighting the youth of volcanic activity at Socompa, and confirming its status as a Holocene active volcano.
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Dates and versions

insu-03777181 , version 1 (14-09-2022)



Pablo Grosse, Martin Danišík, Facundo D. Apaza, Silvina R. Guzmán, Pierre Lahitte, et al.. Holocene collapse of Socompa volcano and pre- and post-collapse growth rates constrained by multi-system geochronology. Bulletin of Volcanology, 2022, 84, ⟨10.1007/s00445-022-01594-0⟩. ⟨insu-03777181⟩
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