Portland State University. Department of Geology
Martin J. Streck
Date of Publication
Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology
Rhyolite -- Oregon -- Wasco County -- Analysis, Volcanic ash tuff etc -- Oregon -- Wasco County -- Analysis, Petrology -- Oregon -- Wasco County
1 online resource (xiii, 138 pages)
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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Westby, Elizabeth G., "The Geology and Petrology of Enigmatic Rhyolites at Graveyard and Gordon Buttes, Mount Hood Quadrangle, Oregon" (2014). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2063.