Pliocene-Pleistocene sediments in the southeastern Acambay graben, central Mexico have yielded mammal fossils, including Equus simplicidens, cf. Rhynchotherium, ?Camelops, Mammuthus sp., Bison sp., and Antilocapra sp. The fossiliferous sediments include a period of lacustrine sedimentation in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene that interrupted fluvial and alluvial sedimentation during the early Pliocene and Pleistocene. The sediments deposited in this late Pliocene paleolake record a history of lake level fluctuations, shown by lithologic variations in lacustrine sediments and abundance of vertebrate burrows. Volcanic and tectonic events in the Acambay graben were the major controls on sedimentation during Pliocene-Pleistocene time. Various local volcanic structures produced source rocks for Pliocene-Pleistocene sediments, and intra-arc extensional tectonics caused basin subsidence. Blockage of stream drainages by lava flows or perhaps increased basin subsidence contributed to the appearance of and fluctuations in the lacustrine system during the late Pliocene. Diatom assemblages from lacustrine sediments indicate slightly higher precipitation and humidity than present-day conditions in the Acambay graben. Therefore, climatic forcing may have also contributed to the development of the late Pliocene paleolake in the Acambay graben. Pliocene-Pleistocene volcanic rocks in this part of the Acambay graben range from basaltic andesite to rhyolite. The calc-alkaline composition of these volcanic rocks is similar to others in the modern Mexican Volcanic Belt; they have a continental arc affinity, which is consistent with a tectonic setting within the Mexican Volcanic Belt. The major eruptive episode in the Acambay graben occurred during the early Pliocene, although volcanism, represented by small volcanic structures, continued until the late Pleistocene. This observed decline in volcanism in the Acambay graben correlates with a early Pliocene through Quaternary trenchward migration of volcanism in the Mexican Volcanic Belt.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Mercer, Lonnie T., "Geology of the Tierras Blancas Area in the Southeastern Acambay Graben, Central Mexico" (2005). All Theses and Dissertations. 303.
geology, Mexico, Mexican Volcanic Belt, Acambay Graben, diatom, Pliocene, Pleistocene, mammal fossils, paleolake, stratigraphy