Earth Institute Research Projects

Towards mass balancing arc magmatic fluxes-insights from the central Mexican Volcanic Belt

Lead PI: Dr. Susanne M. Straub

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

July 2012 - June 2015
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 focuses on the origin of the material that form andesites in Quaternary composite volcanoes and co-eval monogenetic volcanoes. We applied a range of trace element and isotopic tracers in order to test how much of the material is derived the mantle, and the overriding and subduciting crust, respectively.

OUTCOMES: We found evidence that the silicic compositions of the the Mexican arc volcanoes may easily dominated by the crustal material that was eroded from the forearc uplifted at the Middle American Trench. The large volumes of light crustal material subducted at the trench may rise in form of buoyant 'slab diapirs' beneath arc front depth and pass through mantle and crust to erupt as calc-alkaline andesites in the composite and monogenetic volcanoes of the Transmexican Volcanic Belt.


National Science Foundation (NSF)




Louise Bolge, Georg F. Zellmer, Arturo Gomez-Tuena, Ramon Espinasa-Perena, Finlay Stuart, Ilya Bindeman


Massey University of New Zealand, 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., Bindeman, I.N., Bolge, L.L., Brandl, P.A., Espinasa-Perena, R., Solari, L., Stuart, F.M., Vannucchi, P., Zellmer, G.F., 2015a. Crustal Recycling by Subduction Erosion in the central Mexican Volcanic Belt. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 166: 29-52, 10.1016/j.gca.2015.06.001.

Gómez-Tuena, A., Straub, S.M., Zellmer, G.F., 2014. An introduction to orogenic andesites and crustal growth In: Gomez-Tuena, A., Straub, S.M., Zellmer, G.F. (Eds.), Orogenic andesites and crustal growth Geological Society of London, London, pp. 1-13, doi:10.1144/SP385.16

Gómez-Tuena, A., Mori, L., Straub, S.M., 2018. Geochemical and petrological insights into the tectonic origin of the Transmexican Volcanic Belt. Earth Science Reviews, 183: 153-181, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev. 2016.12.006.

Gómez-Tuena, A., Cavazos-Tovar, J.G., Parolari, M., Straub, S.M., Espinasa-Pereña, R., 2018. Geochronological and geochemical evidence of continental crust ‘relamination’ in the origin of intermediate arc magmas. Lithos, 322: 52-66,


andesite petrogenesis recycling subduction erosion forearc slab diapir


Earth fundamentals