Geochronology of age-progressive volcanism of the Oregon High Lava Plains : implications for the plume interpretation of Yellowstone Public Deposited

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  • The High Lava Plains province (HLP) is a late Cenozoic bimodal volcanic field at the northern margin of the Basin and Range province in southeastern Oregon that hosts a westward younging trend of silicic volcanism that crudely mirrors northeastward migration of silicic volcanism along the Yellowstone–Snake River Plain (YSRP) trend. We present ⁴⁰Ar/³⁹Ar ages for 19 rhyolite domes, 5 rhyolite ash flow tuffs, and 34 basaltic lavas from the HLP. The previously identified trend of westward migration of HLP rhyolites is confirmed. The rate of propagation is ~33 km/m.y. from 10 to 5 Ma, slowing to _13 km/m.y. after 5 Ma. The duration of silicic volcanism at any locus is ~2 m.y. Three older HLP dacite domes yielded ages of ~15.5 Ma. Basalts are not age progressive. We identify several episodes of increased basaltic activity at 7.5–7.8, 5.3–5.9, and 2–3 Ma, with the younger episode likely continuing into the Recent. The HLP and YSRP trends emerged from the axis of middle Miocene basaltic volcanism of the Columbia River and Steens basalts. We propose a model in which (1) Miocene flood basalts and widespread silicic rocks are the result of emplacement of a plume head near the craton margin, enhanced by flow up a topographic gradient along the base of the lithosphere at the craton margin; (2) the HLP trend is the result of westward flow originating at the craton margin; and (3) the YSRP trend is the trace of the motion of the North American plate over the tail of the plume.
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  • Deino, A. L., Duncan, R. A., Jordan, B. T., and Grunder, A. L. (2004) Geochronology of age-progressive volcanism of the Oregon High Lava Plains: Implications for the plume interpretation of Yellowstone. J. Geophys. Res., 109, B10202.
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  • Journal of Geophysical Research
  • Vol. 109 (2004)

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