Abstract

To assess the complexity of eruptive activity within mafic volcanic fields, we present a detailed geologic investigation of Holocene volcanism in the upper McKenzie River catchment in the central Oregon Cascades, United States. We focus on the Sand Mountain volcanic field, which covers 76 km2 and consists of 23 vents, associated tephra deposits, and lava fields. We find that the Sand Mountain volcanic field was active for a few decades around 3 ka and involved at least 13 eruptive units. Despite the small total volume erupted (∼1 km3 dense rock equivalent [DRE]), Sand Mountain volcanic field lava geochemistry indicates that erupted magmas were derived from at least two, and likely three, different magma sources. Single units erupted from one or more vents, and field data provide evidence of both vent migration and reoccupation. Overall, our study shows that mafic volcanism was clustered in space and time, involved both explosive and effusive behavior, and tapped several magma sources. These observations provide important insights on possible future hazards from mafic volcanism in the central Oregon Cascades.

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