Abstract

Magnetotelluric (MT) data were used to create a three-dimensional electrical resistivity model of the Altiplano-Puna magma body (APMB) in the area surrounding Volcán Uturuncu in southern Bolivia. This volcano is at the center of a zone of surface deformation with a diameter of 150 km and persistent inflation of ∼10 mm/yr. Low electrical resistivities (<3 Ωm) at a depth of 14 + 1/–3 km below sea level (16–20 km below surface) are interpreted as being due to the presence of andesite melts in the APMB, and require a minimum melt fraction of 15%. The upper crustal resistivity structure is characterized by finite-length, dike-shaped conductors, oriented approximately east-west near sea level. A combination of dacite partial melts and aqueous fluids is required to explain the observed low-resistivity values. Geodetic data do not require any deformation in these shallow regions. The geometry of the upper surface of the APMB beneath Volcán Uturuncu is consistent with that predicted by geodynamic models that suggest that the APMB bulges upward directly beneath Volcán Uturuncu, near the measured inflation center (∼3 km west of Volcán Uturuncu). Viscosity estimates from the MT-derived resistivity model gives a maximum value of 1016 Pa·s and is consistent with models that propose diapir-like ascent of magma above the APMB. Resistivity models are compared and quantitatively correlated to seismic velocity models, showing good agreement on the spatial extent and depth of the APMB. A forward modeling study shows that the small differences in the depth to the top of the APMB between the different geophysical methods could be explained by variations in the composition of the magma body.

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