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The PLUTONS Project

Probing Lazufre and Uturuncu TOgether: Nsf (USA), Nerc (UK), Nserc (Canada), Sergeotecmin (Bolivia), Sernageomin (Chile), observatorio San calixto (Bolivia), universidad nacional de Salta (Argentina), universidad mayor San andres (Bolivia), universidad de poto Si (Bolivia), Sernap (Bolivia), chilean Seismological service, universidad de San Juan (Argentina) PLUTONS was conceived with the hope that by integrating geophysical, geochemical, and geomorphological techniques with numerical modelling we will be able to investigate preliminary evidence for active mid-crustal intrusion and crustal formation at two volcanic areas in the central Andes, Uturuncu and Lazufre. In particular, we hope to place the present snapshot of activity, provided by seismology, magnetotellurics, GPS, InSAR, and gravity change, within the context of long-term activity and local and regional tectonics as determined from geomorphology and geochemistry. With the primary goal of constraining how magma accumulates and erupts in areas of active intrusion and volcanism we will determine: 1. the rates of intrusion and eruption and whether those rates have been steady or episodic over the past several million years; 2. the characteristics of the active intrusions, including their depth, volume, temperature, melt content, and shape and how they relate to magma chambers that erupted over the last several million years; and 3. how the active intrusion interacts with its surroundings through deformation, faulting, associated fluid flow (into nearby sills), metamorphic reactions, and geothermal activity (fumaroles and hot springs temperature and compositional characteristics and/or changes). We place strong emphasis on a multidisciplinary approach to extend and constrain the geophysical signals with geochemical and petrological methods to 1. unravel the time scales of P-T conditions of melt generation, crystallization and differentiation, 2. establish the extent to which Uturuncu might represent continuation of the regional ignimbrite flare-up, and 3. and estimate petrologic thermal and mass balances that in turn, will inform the numerical models of crustal magmatism. We believe that this project has potential to be transformative science because we are addressing issues that go to the heart of our understanding of monitoring potentially hazardous volcanoes and what these signals mean to arc magmatism, the volcanoplutonic connection, and eruption prediction. Of particular importance is that this region has had 10 large (VEI 8) caldera-forming eruptions in the last 10 my, so we hope to provide a realistic assessment of the likelihood of another super-eruption. The knowledge we create will have a broad impact of work on active well known arc- and caldera-related magmatic systems in the US and elsewhere in the world. PLUTONS is a collaborative effort funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Environmental Research Council in the UK, NSERC in Canada, and through in-kind collaborations from several institutions in Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina (see the list on the People page). The goal of the project is to investigate preliminary evidence for active mid-crustal intrusion and crustal formation at two volcanic areas in the central Andes of South America. It is anticipated that the results of this study will lead to a better understanding of how magma accumulates and erupts in areas of active intrusion and volcanism.  The US portion of the project is funded by the National Science Foundation Continental Dynamics program as a grant entitled: "Collaborative Research: Investigating the Relationship Between Pluton Growth and Volcanism at Two Active Intrusions in the Central Andes" through grants 0908324 to Oregon State University, 0908850 to the University of California, Santa Cruz, 0908140 to Montana State University, 0908281 to Cornell University and the University of Alberta, and 0909254 to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.








                                     Probing
                                     Lazufre and 
                                     Uturuncu
                                     TOgether: 
                                     Nsf (USA), 
                                     Nerc (UK), 
                                     Nserc (Canada) 
                                     Sergeotecmin (Bolivia) 
                                     Sernageomin (Chile)
           observatorio San calixto (Bolivia) 
universidad nacional de Salta (Argentina)
      universidad mayor San andres (Bolivia) 
    universidad de poto Si (Bolivia) 
                                     Sernap (Bolivia) 
                chilean Seismological service 
         universidad de San Juan (Argentina)