Abstract

Formation of the late Cenozoic volcanic province comprising the Owyhee plateau, eastern Snake River Plain, and Yellowstone plateau has been accompanied by east-northeast-directed crustal extension. A new vector of 45 mm/yr, N56°E for the migration of silicic volcanism across the volcanic province is calculated. If migration of volcanism reflects west-southwest continental drift over a mantle plume, a zone of crustal extension must separate the volcanic province from the more slowly moving North American craton. Space-time relations of basin fill in the adjacent Basin and Range province provide evidence for a zone of extension, about 125 km wide, coincident with and east of coeval silicic volcanism. Since 16 Ma, the zone of extension has migrated along with silicic volcanism, maintaining its position between the province and the unextended craton.

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