Feeder dikes to the Columbia River flood basalts : underpinnings of a large igneous province Public Deposited

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  • Feeder dikes to the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) large igneous province provide a rare opportunity to examine magma transport through the shallow crust during flood basalt eruptions. Over 70% of the CRBG erupted from the Chief Joseph dike swarm, which is exposed across southeastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and western Idaho. The four manuscripts of this dissertation examine physical, thermal, and compositional characteristics of dikes from the southern Chief Joseph swarm. The majority of CRBG dikes are chilled against their wallrock, however, rare dikes have induced partial melting in their wallrock. Melt zones in tonalite wallrock adjacent to the Maxwell Lake dike are up to 4 in thick and contain up to 47 volume percent quenched silicic melt produced from dehydration-melting reactions involvir biotite, hornblende, quartz, orthoclase, and plagioclase. Melt zones record the thermal history of basalt flow and cooling in the Maxwell Lake dike, a feeder to Wapshilla Ridge flows (Grande Ronde Basalt). Results of one- and two-dimensional numerical modeling suggest that basalt flowed in the Maxwell Lake dike for 3-4 years, yielding maximum eruption rates of 3.4-4.6 km3/day for typical Wapshilla Ridge flows. The Maxwell Lake dike likely represents an upper crustal exposure of a long-lived point source in the CRBG. Chief Joseph dikes are concentrated into sub-swarms of 7-12 dikes per km2. Based on transects through four sub-swarms, dikes become more aligned, more frequent, thinner, and more closely spaced from northwest to southeast across the southern Chief Joseph swarm. Fewer than 2% of dikes, and less than 0.5% of cumulative dike length, had caused extensive melting in their wallrock. In the Cornucopia sub-swarm, numerical modeling of cross-cutting and compound dikes suggests that magmatic activity occurred intermittently over 2-4 years. Compositional data collected from -250 southern Chief Joseph dikes indicate that most are Grande Ronde Basalt, although isolated Imnaha and Dodge (Eckler Mountain Member, Wanapum Basalt) dikes also occur. Imnaha dikes are compositionally primitive, whereas Grande Ronde and Dodge dikes are more evolved. Subtle compositional differences between sub-swarms of Grande Ronde dikes suggest that each sub-swarm represents a discrete episode of Grande Ronde volcanism.
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