The Miocene Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) is the youngest and best studied continental flood basalt province on Earth. The 210,000 km3 of basaltic lava flows in this province were fed by a series of dike swarms, the largest of which is the Chief Joseph dike swarm (CJDS) exposed in northeastern Oregon and southwestern Washington. We present and augment an extensive data set of field observations, collected by Dr. William H. Taubeneck (1923–2016; Oregon State University, 1955–1983); this data set elucidates the structure of the CJDS in new detail.
The large-scale structure of the CJDS, represented by 4279 mapped segments mostly cropping out over an area of 100 × 350 km2, is defined by regions of high dike density, up to ~5 segments/km−2 with an average width of 8 m and lengths of ~100–1000 m. The dikes in the CJDS are exposed across a range of paleodepths, from visibly feeding surface flows to ~2 km in depth at the time of intrusion. Based on extrapolation of outcrops, we estimate the volume of the CJDS dikes to be 2.5 × 102–6 × 104 km3, or between 0.1% and 34% of the known volume of the magma represented by the surface flows fed by these dikes. A dominant NNW dike segment orientation characterizes the swarm. However, prominent sub-trends often crosscut NNW-oriented dikes, suggesting a change in dike orientations that may correspond to magmatically driven stress changes over the duration of swarm emplacement. Near-surface crustal dilation across the swarm is ~0.5–2.7 km to the E-W and ~0.2–1.3 km to the N-S across the 100 × 350 km region, resulting in strain across this region of 0.4%–13.0% E-W and 0.04%–0.3% N-S. Host-rock partial melt is rare in the CJDS, suggesting that only a small fraction of dikes were long-lived.