Abstract

The 40Ar/39Ar investigations of a large suite of fine-grained basaltic rocks of the Boring volcanic field (BVF), Oregon and Washington (USA), yielded two primary results. (1) Using age control from paleomagnetic polarity, stratigraphy, and available plateau ages, 40Ar/39Ar recoil model ages are defined that provide reliable age results in the absence of an age plateau, even in cases of significant Ar redistribution. (2) Grouping of eruptive ages either by period of activity or by composition defines a broadly northward progression of BVF volcanism during latest Pliocene and Pleistocene time that reflects rates consistent with regional plate movements. Based on the frequency distribution of measured ages, periods of greatest volcanic activity within the BVF occurred 2.7–2.2 Ma, 1.7–0.5 Ma, and 350–50 ka. Grouped by eruptive episode, geographic distributions of samples define a series of northeast-southwest–trending strips whose centers migrate from south-southeast to north-northwest at an average rate of 9.3 ± 1.6 mm/yr. Volcanic activity in the western part of the BVF migrated more rapidly than that to the east, causing trends of eruptive episodes to progress in an irregular, clockwise sense. The K2O and CaO values of dated samples exhibit well-defined temporal trends, decreasing and increasing, respectively, with age of eruption. Divided into two groups by K2O, the centers of these two distributions define a northward migration rate similar to that determined from eruptive age groups. This age and compositional migration rate of Boring volcanism is similar to the clockwise rotation rate of the Oregon Coast Range with respect to North America, and might reflect localized extension on the trailing edge of that rotating crustal block.

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