Martin J. Streck

Date of Award

Fall 12-12-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiii, 138 pages)


Rhyolite -- Oregon -- Wasco County -- Analysis, Volcanic ash tuff etc -- Oregon -- Wasco County -- Analysis, Petrology -- Oregon -- Wasco County




Rhyolite lava flows are found at two dome complexes at Graveyard Butte and Gordon Butte, Mount Hood Quadrangle, Oregon. At Graveyard Butte, the White River has cut a winding canyon 150 m deep, exposing at its base, a 40-meter-thick outcrop of flow-banded rhyolite (73 wt.% SiO2, 3.67±0.01 Ma) that laterally extends along the canyon wall for about 1 km. Stratigraphically above the flow-banded rhyolite is locally-erupted iron-rich andesites (lava flows, agglutinate and other pyroclastic rocks as well as clastic debris), a rhyolitic ash-flow tuff (74 wt.% SiO2), and the 2.77±0.36 Ma tholeiitic basalt lava flows of Juniper Flat (Sherrod and Scott, 1995). Roughly 2 km downstream, a phenocryst-poor, maroon-colored rhyolite (3.65±0.01 Ma) is visible again, forming steep canyon walls for about 1.6 km. A compositionally similar silicic unit is found 18 km to the northwest of Graveyard Butte at Gordon Butte. Exposed units along Gordon Butte's Badger Creek (3.64±0.03 Ma) and the southeastern upper slopes of Gordon Butte include rhyolite flows (69.6-72.1 wt.% SiO 2).

The rhyolite lava flows at Graveyard Butte and Gordon Butte's Badger Creek are nearly chemically indistinguishable and both contrast with the younger rhyolitic ash-flow tuff at Graveyard Butte and lava flows on Gordon Butte's Upper Slopes. The rhyolites of Graveyard Butte and Badger Creek are richer in Nb and Zr (30-40 ppm and 487-530 ppm, respectively) than the younger rhyolitic tuff and Upper Slopes flows (13-19 ppm and 235-364 ppm, respectively) and share characteristics with A-type granitoids. The rhyolite lavas are porphyritic (~7%) with the porphyroclasts comprising primarily individual feldspars (250-500 µm in length) with ragged margins, oscillatory zoning and less commonly, spongy cores. Other phenocrystic phases include fayalitic olivine, Fe-rich clinopyroxene, and Fe-Ti oxides.

A-type-like incompatible trace-element-enriched compositions as well as mineralogical indicators suggest rhyolite lava flows at Graveyard Butte and Gordon Butte's Badger Creek are likely generated in an extensional tectonic setting. A possible geotectonic framework for generation of these rhyolite lavas is the northward propagating intra-arc rift of the Oregon Cascades.

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