A fixed sublithospheric source for the late Neogene track of the Yellowstone hotspot: Implications of the Heise and Picabo volcanic fields

Anders, Mark H.; Rodgers, David W.; Hemming, Sidney R.; Saltzman, Janet; DiVenere, Victor J.; Hagstrum, Jonathan T.; Embree, Glenn F.; Walter, Robert C.

The Heise and Picabo volcanic fields of eastern Idaho are part of the more extensive time-transgressive Yellowstone-Snake River Plain hotspot track. Calderas associated with these two silicic volcanic fields are buried under 1 to 3 km of younger basalt, so their locations and eruption record histories have been based on analysis of silicic units along the margins of the eastern Snake River Plain along with some limited geophysical data. A 1.5 km borehole penetrating through basalt into underlying silicic rocks provides new data we used to reassess caldera locations and the timing of eruptions of these volcanic fields. Using these new caldera locations, we calculate an extension-adjusted rate of 2.35 cm/yr for the North American plate over the last 6.66 m.y. and a velocity of 2.30 cm/yr over the 10.27 m.y. Recalculation of a previously determined plate velocity-based migration of the deformation field surrounding the eastern Snake River Plain yields an extension-adjusted rate of 2.38 ± 0.21 cm/yr. These migration rates all fall within the previously published range of North American plate velocities of 2.2 ± 0.8 cm/yr, 2.4 cm/yr, and 2.68 ± 0.78 cm/yr based on a global hot spot reference frame. The consistency of these rates suggest that over the last 10 m.y., the Yellowstone hot spot is fixed with respect to the motion of the North American plate and therefore consistent with a classical deep-sourced hotspot model.


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Journal of Geophysical Research

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Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Published Here
October 5, 2015