Emplacement and assembly of shallow intrusions from multiple magma pulses, Henry Mountains, Utah
Eric Horsman, Sven Morgan, Michel de Saint-Blanquat, Guillaume Habert, Andrew Nugent, Robert A. Hunter, Basil Tikoff, 2010. "Emplacement and assembly of shallow intrusions from multiple magma pulses, Henry Mountains, Utah", Sixth Hutton Symposium on The Origin of Granites and Related Rocks: Proceedings of a Symposium held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2- 6 July 2007, John D. Clemens, Colin Donaldson, Carol D. Frost, Alexander F.M. Kisters, Jean-François Moyen, Tracy Rushmer, Gary Stevens
Download citation file:
This paper describes three mid-Tertiary intrusions from the Henry Mountains (Utah, USA) that were assembled from amalgamation of multiple horizontal sheet-like magma pulses in the absence of regional deformation. The three-dimensional intrusion geometries are exceptionally well preserved and include: (1) a highly lobate sill; (2) a laccolith; and (3) a bysmalith (a cylindrical, fault-bounded, piston-like laccolith). Individual intrusive sheets are recognised on the margins of the bodies by stacked lobate contacts, and within the intrusions by both intercalated sedimentary wallrock and formation of solid-state fabrics. Finally, conduits feeding these intrusions were mostly sub-horizontal and pipe-like, as determined by both direct observation and modelling of geophysical data.
The intrusion geometries, in aggregate, are interpreted to reflect the time evolution of an idealised upper crustal pluton. These intrusions initiate as sills, evolve into laccoliths, and eventually become piston-like bysmaliths. The emplacement of multiple magma sheets was rapid and pulsed; the largest intrusion was assembled in less than 100 years. The magmatic fabrics are interpreted as recording the internal flow of the sheets preserved by fast cooling rates in the upper crust. Because there are multiple magma sheets, fabrics may vary vertically as different sheets are traversed. These bodies provide unambiguous evidence that some intrusions are emplaced in multiple pulses, and that igneous assembly can be highly heterogeneous in both space and time. The features diagnostic of pulsed assembly observed in these small intrusions can be easily destroyed in larger plutons, particularly in tectonically active regions.