Abstract

Tuffs of the Tertiary Colbún Formation near Quinamávida in central southern Chile have been mapped and their mineralogy analyzed. The pyroclastic rocks present a maximum outcropping thickness of 120 m and are dominated by vitreous lapilli and minor lithic tuffs, the products of active volcanism nearby. About 10% of the tuffs consist of lenses of fine banded tuffs with a high leaf content that were deposited in shallow lakes during quiescent periods between periods of volcanic activity. This tuff sequence is pervasively transformed to clinoptilolite/heulandite and mordenite with variable amounts of plagioclase, minor quartz and smectite. Factors thought to have influenced this conversion to zeolites are a humid climate following deposition combined with a slightly elevated heat flow. Local hydrogeological conditions have modified the cation-hydrogen ion ratios across the study area favoring the formation of clinoptilolite/heulandite and mordenite with medium-minor smectite in the center and south, and a more abundant presence of smectite in the north of the study area.

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