Pleistocene - Holocene volcanism at the Karkar geothermal prospect, Armenia

Meliksetian, K., Neill, I. , Barfod, D. N. , Milne, E. J.M., Waters, E. C., Navasardyan, G., Grigoryan, E., Olive, V. , Odling, N. and Karakhanian, A. (2021) Pleistocene - Holocene volcanism at the Karkar geothermal prospect, Armenia. Quaternary Geochronology, 66, 101201. (doi: 10.1016/j.quageo.2021.101201)

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Quaternary volcanic centres north of the Bitlis-Zagros suture in Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus represent both volcanic hazards and potential or actual geothermal energy resources. Such challenges and opportunities cannot be fully quantified without understanding these volcanoes' petrogenesis, geochronology and magmatic, tectonic or other eruption triggers. In this preliminary study, we discuss the age and geology of the Karkar monogenetic volcanic field in Syunik, SE Armenia. The ∼70 km2 field is close to Armenia's only geothermal energy test drilling site. Fissure-fed trachybasaltic andesite to trachyandesite lavas erupted on a trans-tensional segment of the Syunik branch of the Pambak-Sevan-Syunik Fault, where previous studies suggested a Holocene age for the youngest eruptions. Here, high-resolution duplicate 40Ar/39Ar dating of 7 groundmass separates provided inverse isochron ages ranging from 7.4 ± 3.6 ka and 7.9 ± 2.9 ka to 353 ± 20 ka (2σ). Each lava flow displays petrographic and whole rock geochemical patterns consistent with melting of subduction-modified lithospheric mantle and extensive evolution within the crust involving fractional crystallisation and mixing of magma batches. Data confirm that volcanic activity related to the Syunik Fault overlapped with Palaeolithic to Bronze Age human occupation and remains a minor lava inundation hazard. Further geochemical work will allow constraint of the depth and timescales of magma storage. Both Karkar and the area around Porak volcano, which lies 35 km N of Karkar on the Syunik Fault, might be considered for future geothermal energy developments.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The Armenian team and IN were supported by the Armenian State Committee for Science [Grant # 15T-1E117]. IN was supported by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland [Research Incentive Grant 70419, 2016] and the Geological Society of London [Elspeth Matthews Fund, 2016]. EM received an Angus Mitchell Scholarship for MSc research and the Sir Alwyn Williams fund for postgraduate research, both at the University of Glasgow.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barfod, Dr Dan and Neill, Dr Iain and Olive, Dr Valerie and Milne, Eilidh
Authors: Meliksetian, K., Neill, I., Barfod, D. N., Milne, E. J.M., Waters, E. C., Navasardyan, G., Grigoryan, E., Olive, V., Odling, N., and Karakhanian, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Quaternary Geochronology
ISSN (Online):1878-0350
Published Online:03 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Quaternary Geochronology 66: 101201
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
173228Fire and shaking in the South Caucasus: connecting geo-archaeology and hazards in ArmeniaIain NeillThe Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (CARNEGTR)70419GES - Earth Sciences