Extensive soft sediment deformation and peperite formation at the base of a rhyolite lava: Owyhee Mountains, SW Idaho, USA

Mclean, C. E., Brown, D. J. and Rawcliffe, H. J. (2016) Extensive soft sediment deformation and peperite formation at the base of a rhyolite lava: Owyhee Mountains, SW Idaho, USA. Bulletin of Volcanology, 78, 42. (doi: 10.1007/s00445-016-1035-2)

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In the Northern Owyhee Mountains (SW Idaho), a >200 m thick flow of the Miocene Jump Creek Rhyolite was erupted on to a sequence of tuffs, lapilli-tuffs, breccias and lacustrine siltstones of the Sucker Creek Formation. The rhyolite lava flowed over steep palaeotopography, resulting in the forceful emplacement of lava into poorly consolidated sediments. The lava invaded this sequence, liquefying and mobilizing the sediment, propagating sediment sub-vertically in large metre-scale fluidal diapirs and sediment injectites. The heat and the overlying pressure of the thick Jump Creek Rhyolite extensively liquefied and mobilised the sediment resulting in the homogenization of the Sucker Creek Formation units, and the formation of metre-scale loading structures (simple and pendulous load casts, detached pseudonodules). Density contrasts between the semi-molten rhyolite and liquefied sediment produced highly fluidal Rayleigh-Taylor structures. Local fluidisation formed peperite at the margins of the lava and elutriation structures in the disrupted sediment. The result is a 30-40 m zone beneath the rhyolite lava of extremely deformed stratigraphy. Brittle failure and folding is recorded in more-consolidated sediments, indicating a differential response to loading due to the consolidation state of the sediments. The lava-sediment interaction is interpreted as being a function of: (1) the poorly consolidated nature of the sediments; (2) the thickness and heat retention of the rhyolite lava; (3) the density contrast between the lava and the sediment; and (4) the forceful emplacement of the lava. This study demonstrates how large lava bodies have the potential to extensively disrupt sediments and form significant lateral and vertical discontinuities that complicate volcanic facies architecture.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mclean, Miss Charlotte and Brown, Dr David and Rawcliffe, Miss Heather
Authors: Mclean, C. E., Brown, D. J., and Rawcliffe, H. J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Bulletin of Volcanology
Publisher:Springer Verlag
ISSN (Online):1432-0819
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Bulletin of Volcanology 78:42
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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