Current Projects

Uturuncu Volcano, Bolivia – Dissecting a Zombie

When a volcano inflates, is it always magma on the move? This is the question at Uturuncu volcano in Bolivia. Uturuncu has been called a “zombie volcano” – even though it hasn’t erupted in over 250,000 years1, it has been deforming for at least the last 50 years2! So what’s driving the deformation? Is it an ascending diapir of melt3, magma intruding deep in the crust4, a magma mush reorganizing itself5, or even an ore body forming before our eyes6?

My research seeks to help answer these questions with the following research goals:

  • Track the evolution of the deformation signal by updating the InSAR time series
  • Analyze geophysical models of Uturuncu derived from gravity data collected in 2018, in concert with the existing resistivity model to understand the shallow structure and hydrothermal system
  • Synthesis analysis of geophysical data collected at Uturuncu to identify structure and lithologies in the upper 15 km of the crust.

Funding provided by a NASA FINESST grant (Patricia MacQueen) and grants from the NSF and NERC.

Publications and presentations:

  • MacQueen, P., Gottsmann, J., Pritchard, M., Young, N.K., Ticona J., F., Tintaya, R. (2021). Dissecting a Zombie: Joint analysis of density and resistivity models reveals shallow structure and possible sulfide deposition at Uturuncu Volcano, Bolivia. Frontiers in Earth Science. p. 755. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2021.725917.
  • MacQueen, P., Hudson, T., Gottsmann, J., Pritchard, M., Kendall, M., Unsworth, M., Blundy, J. (2021). Inside the Zombie: Shallow hydrothermal system and possible sulfide deposition revealed by joint analysis of seismic attenuation, resistivity, and density models at Uturuncu Volcano, Bolivia. GAGE/SAGE 2021 Community Science Workshop.
  • MacQueen, P., Gottsmann, J., Pritchard, M., Young, N.K., Ticona J., F., Tintaya, R., Hudson, T., Liu, Y., Kendall, M., Comeau, M. J., Unsworth, M.J. (2021). Inside the Zombie: 3-D Gravity Inversion at Uturuncu Volcano Reveals Shallow Hydrothermal System and Possible Sulfide Deposition. 1st Symposium on the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes.
  • MacQueen, P., Gottsmann, J., Pritchard, M., Young, N.K., Ticona J., F., Tintaya, R., Hudson, T., Liu, Y., Kendall, M., Comeau, M. J., Unsworth, M.J. (2020). Dissecting a Zombie: Shallow Volcanic Structure Revealed by Multiple Geophysical Data Sets at Uturuncu Volcano, Bolivia. 2020 AGU Fall Meeting. (Outstanding Student Presentation Award)
  • Eiden, E., MacQueen, P., Henderson, S.T., Pritchard, M.E. (2020). Investigating Hydrothermal and Magmatic Deformation using Geodetic Time Series at Uturuncu Volcano, Bolivia. 2020 AGU Fall Meeting.

1Muir, D. D., Blundy, J. D., Rust, A. C., & Hickey, J. (2014). Experimental Constraints on Dacite Pre-eruptive Magma Storage Conditions beneath Uturuncu Volcano. Journal of Petrology, 55(4), 749–767. https://doi.org/10.1093/petrology/egu005
2Gottsmann, J., Potro, R. del, & Muller, C. (2018). 50 years of steady ground deformation in the Altiplano-Puna region of southern Bolivia. Geosphere, 14(1), 65–73. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01570.1
3Fialko, Y., & Pearse, J. (2012). Sombrero Uplift Above the Altiplano-Puna Magma Body: Evidence of a Ballooning Mid-Crustal Diapir. Science, 338(6104), 250–252. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1226358
4Henderson, S. T., & Pritchard, M. E. (2017). Time-dependent deformation of Uturuncu volcano, Bolivia, constrained by GPS and InSAR measurements and implications for source models. Geosphere, 13(6), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01203.1
5Gottsmann, J., Blundy, J., Henderson, S., Pritchard, M. E., & Sparks, R. S. J. (2017). Thermomechanical modeling of the Altiplano-Puna deformation anomaly: Multiparameter insights into magma mush reorganization. Geosphere, 13(4), 1042–1065. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01420.1
6Blundy, J., Mavrogenes, J., Tattitch, B., Sparks, S., & Gilmer, A. (2015). Generation of porphyry copper deposits by gas–brine reaction in volcanic arcs. Nature Geoscience, 8(3), 235–240. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2351