Recognition and characterisation of high-grade ignimbrites from the Neoproterozoic rhyolitic volcanism in southernmost Brazil

Carlos Sommer (Corresponding Author), Evandro Lima, Adriane Machado, Lucas De Magalhaes Rossetti, Ronaldo Pierosan

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Neoproterozoic magmatism in southern Brazil is associated with translithospheric shear belts and strike-slip basins in a post-collisional setting related to the last stages of the Brasilian-Pan African Orogenic Cycle. It evolved from an association of high-K calc-alkaline, leucocratic-peraluminous and continental tholeiitic magmas, to an association with shoshonitic magmas and, eventually, to an association with magmas of the sodic mildly alkaline series. This magmatism varies from metaluminous to peralkaline and exhibits alkaline sodic affinity. A large volcanism is related to this alkaline sodic magmatism and is named the Acampamento Velho Formation. This unit was coeval with subaerial siliciclastic sedimentation in post-collisional basins preserved in the region. The Acampamento Velho Formation consists of pyroclastic and effusive volcanic deposits, which are mainly silicic, emplaced under subaerial conditions. The best exposures of this volcanism occur on the Ramada and Taquarembó plateaus, located southwest of Rio Grande do Sul in southernmost Brazil. The pyroclastic flow deposits are composed mainly of juvenile fragments such as pumices, shards and crystal fragments. Welding is very effective in these units. High-grade ignimbrites occur at the base and intermediate portions of the deposits and rheoignimbrites are observed at the top. The pre-eruptive temperature calculations, which were obtained at the saturation of zircon, revealed values between 870 °C and 978 °C for Taquarembó Plateau and 850 °C–946 °C for Ramada Plateau. The calculated viscosity values vary from 6.946 to 8.453 log η (Pas) for the rheoignimbrites and 7.818 to 10.588 log η (Pas) for the ignimbrites. Zr contents increase toward the top of the pyroclastic sequence, which indicates an increase in peralkalinity and determines the reduction in viscosity for clasts at the upper portions of the flows. The patterns of the structures of the ignimbrites and rheoignimbrites in the Taquarembó and Ramada plateaus accords well with successive pyroclastic flows that halts en masse. In this model the entire pyroclastic flow halts en masse, so complex vertical changes in grain size and composition are interpreted as recording deposition from successive discrete pyroclastic flows. The stratification observed in intermediate units in Taquarembó Plateau might reflect in this case variation in eruptive dynamics and short pauses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-165
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

We especially acknowledge the research grants and financial support of the CNPq (303584/2009-2, 473683/2007, 5470641/2008-8, 470203/2007-2, 302213/2012-0, 471402/2012-5, 303038/2009-8 and 4705052010-9), FAPERGS (100798) and PRONEX (10/0045-6). We also thank thelaboratory support from the IGEO/UFRGS. We thank L. Pioli, R.A. Fuck and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and constructive reviews.


  • welding
  • rheomorphism
  • ignimbrites
  • high-silica
  • Neoproterozoic


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