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Aug 25 / Dave Schumaker

Yellowstone Hotspot Volcanism in California?

The September issue of Geology has an interesting article on dating the Lovejoy Basalt deposits of Northern California, which form a patchwork of basaltic outcrops that are Tertiary aged. Paleomagnetic evidence and geochemical analysis suggest that these flows are part of the Yellowstone flood basalts that erupted around 17 – 14 million years ago. The paleomagnetic evidence also demonstrates that the uppermost flow traveled a minimum of 75 km and that some others could have traveled 200 km or more. It appears likely that the Lovejoy basalt was part of the same 17-14 million year old outpouring of lava flows attributed to the Yellowstone hotspot, which comprise the voluminous Columbia River flood basalt and high plateau lavas of Washington, Oregon, and western Idaho, greatly expanding the extent of Yellowstone hotspot volcanism to the southwest. The article itself isn’t available, but you can read the abstract here.

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