Earth Institute Research Projects

Testing the Processes of Melt Differentiation in the Mexican Volcanic Belt

Lead PI: Dr. Susanne M. Straub

Unit Affiliation: Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

January 2008 - July 2013
Central America ; North America ; Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) ; Nacional Autónoma de México Centro de Geociencias (UNAM-CGEO) ; Kilbride, Scotland ; Eugene, OR
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The project targeted unusually Ni-rich olivines that were reported from young volcanic rocks in Transmexican Volcanic Belt. We investigated olivines from a range of basaltic to andesitic rocks from composite volcano Popocatepetl and its surrounding monogenetic volcanoes.

OUTCOMES: Results show that high-Ni olivines are common in basaltic and andesitic melts. The entirety of compositonal systematics and spatial and temporal constraints show that melts crystallizing high-Ni olivines are formed >50 km deep in the Earth's mantle that is filtrated by silicic components released from the subducting slab that passes at ca. 100 km depth beneath the arc.


National Science Foundation (NSF)




Arturo Gomez-Tuena, Ramon Espinasa-Perena, Finlay Stuart, Ilya Bindeman


Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Centro de Geociencias (UNAM-CGEO), Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), University of Oregon


Straub, S.M., Gomez-Tuena, A., Stuart, F.M., Zellmer, G.F., Espinasa-Perena, R., Cai, M.Y., Iizuka, Y., 2011. Formation of hybrid arc andesites beneath thick continental crust. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 303: 337-347, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2011.01.013.

Straub, S.M., Gomez-Tuena, A., Zellmer, G.F., Espinasa-Perena, R., Stuart, F.M., Cai, Y., Langmuir, C.H., Martin-Del Pozzo, A., Mesko, G.T., 2013a. The processes of melt differentiation in arc volcanic rocks: Insights from OIB-type arc magmas in the central Mexican Volcanic Belt. J Petrol, 54 (4): 665-701, doi:10.1093/petrology/egs081.

Straub, S.M., Zellmer, G.F., Gómez-Tuena, A., Espinasa-Perena, R., Martin-Del Pozzo, A.L., Stuart, F.M., Langmuir, C.H., 2014. A genetic link between silicic slab components and calc-alkaline arc volcanism in central Mexico In: Gomez-Tuena, A., Straub, S.M., Zellmer, G.F. (Eds.), Orogenic Andesites and Crustal Growth Geological Society London Special Publication 385, pp. 31-64, doi 10.1144/SP385.14.


pryoxenites high-ni olivines andesite petrogenesis volcanic arc


Earth fundamentals