40Ar/39Ar geochronology of Neogene phreatomagmatic volcanism 3 in the western Pannonian Basin, Hungary

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Neogene alkaline basaltic volcanic fields in the western Pannonian Basin, Hungary, including the Bakony–Balaton Highland and the Little Hungarian Plain volcanic fields are the erosional remnants of clusters of small-volume, possibly monogenetic volcanoes. Moderately to strongly eroded maars, tuff rings, scoria cones, and associated lava flows span an age range of ca. 6 Myr as previously determined by the K/Ar method. High resolution 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages on 18 samples have been obtained to determine the age range for the western Pannonian Basin Neogene intracontinental volcanic province. The new 40Ar/39Ar age determinations confirm the previously obtained K/Ar ages in the sense that no systematic biases were found between the two data sets. However, our study also serves to illustrate the inherent advantages of the 40Ar/39Ar technique: greater analytical precision, and internal tests for reliability of the obtained results provide more stringent constraints on reconstructions of the magmatic evolution of the volcanic field. Periods of increased activity with multiple eruptions occurred at ca. 7.95 Ma, 4.10 Ma, 3.80 Ma and 3.00 Ma. These new results more precisely date remnants of lava lakes or flows that define geomorphological marker horizons, for which the age is significant for interpreting the erosion history of the landscape. The results also demonstrate that during short periods of more intense activity not only were new centers formed but pre-existing centers were rejuvenated.
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Pyroclastic deposits, Monogenetic volcano, Volcano erosion