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Geology -- Oregon, Thermoluminescence dating


Hot springs in the Alvord/Pueblo valleys in southeastern Oregon are analogous to Basinand- Range hydrothermal systems where heat source and permeable pathways are met through crustal thinning. Silica sinter deposition at Mickey Springs, Alvord Valley, predates the late Pleistocene high stand of pluvial Lake Alvord. At Borax Lake, Pueblo Valley, sinter deposition occurred during the Holocene. This study examines the evolution of springs at Mickey Springs, where three morphologies of sinter are present: (1) basalt clasts surrounded by sinter in interbedded conglomerate and sandstone, (2) pool-edge and aprons of sinter surrounding depressions (12–32 m diameter), and (3) quaquaversal sinter mounds with pool-edge sinter. The oldest sinter occurs in silica-cemented conglomerate and sandstone, where deposition occurred prior to 30 kya. Deposition around broad depressions and mounds occurred after 30 kya but before water levels began to rise in pluvial Lake Alvord. Thermoluminescence dates suggest sinter deposition ceased before 18 kya when silt and clay filled inactive vents and buried aprons. A few mounds hosted active springs after sinter deposition ceased but while submerged in pluvial Lake Alvord. Now, high-temperature springs, steam vents, and mud pots are concentrated in a 50 by 50 m area near the southern edge of the spring area.


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