Geochronological systematics of the Huayna Potosí, Zongo and Taquesi plutons, Cordillera Real of Bolivia, by the K/Ar, Rb/Sr and U/Pb methods

Umberto Giuseppe Cordani, Alvaro Rodrigo Iriarte, Kei Sato

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The Huayna Potosi, Zongo and Taquesi are Triassic plutons located at the core of the Real Cordillera of Bolivia. In this paper, several Rb-Sr and K-Ar ages obtained in the past at the São Paulo Geochronology Laboratory, yet unpublished, will be presented, along with newer U-Pb Sensitive High-Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) determinations made in the same laboratory, allowing us to redefine the geologic history of this part of the Central Andes. Rb/Sr analyses of some low grade metapelitic country rocks of the early Paleozoic (Amutara and Cancañiri Formations) yielded a Rb-Sr isochron age of 344 ± 38 Ma, indicating the action of an early Gondwanide regional event. A five-point Rb-Sr isochron from a granite outcrop of the Huayna Potosi pluton yielded an age of 224 ± 28 Ma. In addition, an important Ar loss in micas was detected in the Zongo granitoids and their country rocks, recording a thermal event that opened this isotopic system in the Oligocene. Newer U-Pb SHRIMP zircon ages of ca. 221 Ma were obtained in two other granitic outcrops of the Huayna Potosi granite. They confirmed its Triassic crystallization age, and a similar U-Pb SHRIMP age of 221.9 ± 1.5 Ma was obtained for one sample of the Taquesi pluton. For the Zongo pluton, many of the zircon grains obtained from one sample of its Kuticucho facies yielded extremely high uranium content, which produced reverse discordant apparent ages. However, due to the fair alignment of the analytical points in the Concordia diagram, possibly corresponding to a linear correlation, we made a regression calculation and the interception of the Concordia curve resulted in a rather imprecise age of 220 ± 20 Ma. Our conclusion was that the final magmatic crystallization and the intrusion of plutons in the central part of the Cordillera Real of Bolivia have occurred close to 221.5 ± 2.0 Ma, in late Triassic times. Finally, the U-Pb SHRIMP ages obtained in inherited zircon xenocrysts from the four available granitic rocks yielded very different ages, and many of them are related to previous magmatic episodes of the Andean Tectonic System. A few other age measurements indicated sources related to much older Proterozoic magmatic events associated with rocks from the Andean basement.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20190016
JournalBrazilian Journal of Geology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The autors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons license.


  • Granitoids
  • Real Cordillera
  • Zircon


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