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Discovery of two new super-eruptions from the Yellowstone Hotspot track (USA); is the Yellowstone Hotspot waning?

Thomas R. Knott, Michael J. Branney, Marc K. Reichow, David R. Finn, Simon Tapster and Robert S. Coe
Discovery of two new super-eruptions from the Yellowstone Hotspot track (USA); is the Yellowstone Hotspot waning?
Geology (Boulder) (June 2020) Pre-Issue Publication

Abstract

Super-eruptions are amongst the most extreme events to affect Earth's surface, but too few examples are known to assess their global role in crustal processes and environmental impact. We demonstrate a robust approach to recognize them at one of the best-preserved intraplate large igneous provinces, leading to the discovery of two new super-eruptions. Each generated huge and unusually hot pyroclastic density currents that sterilized extensive tracts of Idaho and Nevada in the United States. The ca. 8.99 Ma McMullen Creek eruption was magnitude 8.6, larger than the last two major eruptions at Yellowstone (Wyoming). Its volume exceeds 1700 km3, covering > or =12,000 km2. The ca. 8.72 Ma Grey's Landing eruption was even larger, at magnitude of 8.8 and volume of > or =2800 km3. It covers > or =23,000 km2 and is the largest and hottest documented eruption from the Yellowstone hotspot. The discoveries show the effectiveness of distinguishing and tracing vast deposit sheets by combining trace-element chemistry and mineral compositions with field and paleomagnetic characterization. This approach should lead to more discoveries and size estimates, here and at other provinces. It has increased the number of known super-eruptions from the Yellowstone hotspot, shows that the temporal framework of the magmatic province needs revision, and suggests that the hotspot may be waning.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: Pre-Issue Publication
Title: Discovery of two new super-eruptions from the Yellowstone Hotspot track (USA); is the Yellowstone Hotspot waning?
Affiliation: University of Leicester, School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, Leicester, United Kingdom
Published: 20200601
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 34
Accession Number: 2020-062910
Categories: Igneous and metamorphic petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N42°00'00" - N43°30'00", W115°30'00" - W113°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: British Geological Survey, GBR, United KingdomUniversity of California-Santa Cruz, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 202018
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