The Guffey volcanic center is the largest within the 2000 km2 mid-Tertiary Thirtynine Mile volcanic field of central Colorado. This study is the first to provide extensive chemical data for these alkalic volcanic and subvolcanic rocks, which represent the eroded remnants of a large stratovolcano of Oligocene age. Formation of early domes and flows of latite and trachyte within the Guffey center was followed by extrusion of a thick series of basalt, trachybasalt, and shoshonite flows and lahars. Plugs, dikes, and vents ranging from basalt to rhyolite cut the thick mafic deposits, and felsic tuffs and tuff breccias chemically identical to the small rhyolitic plutons are locally preserved.
Whole-rock major and trace element analyses of 80 samples, ranging almost continuously from 47% to 78%SiO2, indicate that the rocks of the Guffey center are among the most highly enriched in K2O (up to 6%) and rare earth elements (typically 200-300 ppm) of any volcanic rocks in Colorado. These observations, along with the relatively high concentrations of Ba and Rb and the depletion of Cr and Ni, suggest an appreciable contribution of lower crustal material to the magmas that produced the Thirtynine Mile volcanic rocks.