Stratigraphic relationships, detrital zircon provenance, U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, and trace element geochemistry in volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the Sierra homocline of central Chiapas near La Angostura reservoir in Mexico document an extensive pulse of Early–Middle Jurassic arc magmatism in rocks that overlie and intrude the Permian–Triassic Chiapas massif. Upper Jurassic rift-basin strata unconformably overlie the volcanic rocks and the massif. A Pliensbachian U-Pb (zircon) SHRIMP (sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe) age from porphyritic andesite (191.0 ± 3.0 Ma), Early to Middle Jurassic 40Ar/39Ar dates from andesitic dikes, U-Pb grain ages of detrital zircons in overlying strata (196–161 Ma), and previously reported K-Ar dates indicate that subduction-related magmatism occurred in the western portion of the Maya block from Early to latest Middle Jurassic time. We assign the volcanic rocks to the La Silla Formation, which correlates with the informal Pueblo Viejo andesite of the Cintalapa and Uzpanapa regions to the northwest. La Silla magmatism predates opening of the Gulf of Mexico Basin. The Todos Santos Formation, which overlies La Silla Formation, was deposited in extensional basins during the early stages of gulf opening. We recognize a lower El Diamante Member of the Todos Santos, consisting of red fluvial sandstone, mudstone, and minor conglomerate containing primarily volcanic-lithic detritus; this member is characterized by a nearly unimodal Jurassic detrital zircon age population that indicates a Callovian or younger depositional age. Volcanic activity continued into the upper part of the El Diamante Member, but with a more mafic character. We also recognize an upper member, which we term the Jericó Member. This member is characterized by thickly bedded, coarse-grained pebbly arkose intercalated with several thick intervals (tens of meters) of conglomerate and pebbly sandstone. Sandstone petrology indicates a source in the granitic rocks of the Chiapas massif, with a tendency to show deep-seated sources and a diverse zircon population in the upper part of the section. The upper Todos Santos Formation in the study area is gradational into the overlying San Ricardo Formation (Kimmeridgian–Tithonian). The La Silla Formation was deposited in volcanic-complex environments, with a clear lack of differentiated volcanic rocks. Fluvial strata of the El Diamante Member were deposited in a mud-rich sinuous river system. The Jericó Member was deposited in large, sand-rich fluvial systems, which probably represent deposits of rift-axis trunk streams; conglomerate facies were deposited in adjacent and interfingering alluvial fan systems. We suggest that the stratigraphic record of the western Maya block records a transition from volcanic arc to intra-arc basin and subsequently to rift basin during Pliensbachian to Oxfordian time.
- Received 31 March 2010.
- Revision received 15 June 2010.
- Accepted 7 July 2010.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America