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  1. Rhyolitic melt that fuels explosive eruptions often originates in the upper crust via extraction from crystal-rich sources, implying an evolutionary link between volcanism and residual plutonism. However, the time scales over which these systems evolve are mainly understood through erupted deposits, limiting confirmation of this connection. Exhumed plutons that preserve a record of high-silica melt segregation provide a critical subvolcanic perspective on rhyolite generation, permitting comparison between time scales of long-term assembly and transient melt extraction events. Here, U-Pb zircon petrochronology and 40 Ar/ 39 Ar thermochronology constrain silicic melt segregation and residual cumulate formation in a ~7 to 6 Ma, shallow (3 to 7 km depth) Andean pluton. Thermo-petrological simulations linked to a zircon saturation model map spatiotemporal melt flux distributions. Our findings suggest that ~50 km 3 of rhyolitic melt was extracted in ~130 ka, transient pluton assembly that indicates the thermal viability of advanced magma differentiation in the upper crust.
  2. Abstract The Eocene Huitrera Formation of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina, is renowned for its diverse, informative, and outstandingly preserved fossil biotas. In northwest Chubut Province, at the Laguna del Hunco locality, this unit includes one of the most diverse fossil floras known from the Eocene, as well as significant fossil insects and vertebrates. It also includes rich fossil vertebrate faunas at the Laguna Fría and La Barda localities. Previous studies of these important occurrences have provided relatively little sedimentological detail, and radioisotopic age constraints are relatively sparse and in some cases obsolete. Here, we describe five fossiliferous lithofacies deposited in four terrestrial depositional environments: lacustrine basin floor, subaerial pyroclastic plain, vegetated, waterlogged pyroclastic lake margin, and extracaldera incised valley. We also report several new 40Ar/39Ar age determinations. Among these, the uppermost unit of the caldera-forming Ignimbrita Barda Colorada yielded a 40Ar/39Ar age of 52.54 ± 0.17 Ma, ∼6 m.y. younger than previous estimates, which demonstrates that deposition of overlying fossiliferous lacustrine strata (previously constrained to older than 52.22 ± 0.22 Ma) must have begun almost immediately on the subsiding ignimbrite surface. A minimum age for Laguna del Hunco fossils is established by an overlying ignimbrite with an age of 49.19 ±more »0.24 Ma, confirming that deposition took place during the early Eocene climatic optimum. The Laguna Fría mammalian fauna is younger, constrained between a valley-filling ignimbrite and a capping basalt with 40Ar/39Ar ages of 49.26 ± 0.30 Ma and 43.50 ± 1.14 Ma, respectively. The latter age is ∼4 m.y. younger than previously reported. These new ages more precisely define the age range of the Laguna Fría and La Barda faunas, allowing greatly improved understanding of their positions with respect to South American mammal evolution, climate change, and geographic isolation.« less
  3. Abstract The 40Ar/39Ar dating method is among the most versatile of geochronometers, having the potential to date a broad variety of K-bearing materials spanning from the time of Earth’s formation into the historical realm. Measurements using modern noble-gas mass spectrometers are now producing 40Ar/39Ar dates with analytical uncertainties of ∼0.1%, thereby providing precise time constraints for a wide range of geologic and extraterrestrial processes. Analyses of increasingly smaller subsamples have revealed age dispersion in many materials, including some minerals used as neutron fluence monitors. Accordingly, interpretive strategies are evolving to address observed dispersion in dates from a single sample. Moreover, inferring a geologically meaningful “age” from a measured “date” or set of dates is dependent on the geological problem being addressed and the salient assumptions associated with each set of data. We highlight requirements for collateral information that will better constrain the interpretation of 40Ar/39Ar data sets, including those associated with single-crystal fusion analyses, incremental heating experiments, and in situ analyses of microsampled domains. To ensure the utility and viability of published results, we emphasize previous recommendations for reporting 40Ar/39Ar data and the related essential metadata, with the amendment that data conform to evolving standards of being findable, accessible, interoperable,more »and reusable (FAIR) by both humans and computers. Our examples provide guidance for the presentation and interpretation of 40Ar/39Ar dates to maximize their interdisciplinary usage, reproducibility, and longevity.« less