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Abstract

Mineral separates of adularia have been extracted from three samples of highly silicified hydrothermal breccias, newly discovered in the active Bouillante geothermal field (Guadeloupe archipelago), and investigated by 40Ar/39Ar geochronology in order to constrain the timing of geothermal activity in this part of the active Lesser Antilles island arc. The inverse isochron diagram indicates an age of 248±50 ka (2σ) for all adularia from one breccia sample (n=8), with an initial 40Ar/36Ar ratio of atmospheric composition (309±12 (2σ)) attesting that this age is valid. This age is concordant with the weighted mean age of 290±40 ka for the same sample. Adularia from other samples yields concordant ages. The obtained 40Ar/39Ar ages can be related either to the magmatic activity of the Bouillante Volcanic Chain (c. 850–250 ka ago) or to the initiation of the volcanic activity of the active Grande Découverte–Soufrière system (200 ka ago–present day). Our results demonstrate that the Bouillante hydrothermal event is coeval with change in the volcanic pulses previously recognized in the magmatic history of the studied area. The possible duration calculated for this hydrothermal activity requires at least two superposed volcanic pulses to be developed.

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