Abstract

Y-2, a U.S. Geological Survey research diamond-drill hole in Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, was drilled to a depth of 157.4 meters. The hole penetrated interbedded siliceous sinter and travertine to 10.2 m, glacial sediments of the Pinedale Glaciation interlayered with pumiceous tuff from 10.2 to 31.7 m, and rhyolitic lavas of the Elephant Back flow of the Central Plateau Member and the Mallard Lake Member of the Pleistocene Plateau Rhyolite from 31.7 to 157.4 m. Hydrothermal alteration is pervasive in most of the nearly continuous drill core. Rhyolitic glass has been extensively altered to clay and zeolite minerals (intermediate heulandite, clinoptilolite, mordenite, montmorillonite, mixed-layer illite-montmorillonite, and illite) in addition to quartz and adularia. Numerous veins, vugs, and fractures in the core contain these and other minerals: silica minerals (opal, β-cristobalite, α-cristobalite, and chalcedony), zeolites (analcime, wairakite, dachiardite, laumontite, and yugawaralite), carbonates (calcite and siderite), clay (kaolinite and chlorite), oxides (hematite, goethite, manganite, cryptomelane, pyrolusite, and groutite), and sulfides (pyrrhotite and pyrite) along with minor aegirine, fluorite, truscottite, and portlandite(?).

Interbedded travertine and siliceous sinter in the upper part of the drill core indicate that two distinct types of thermal water are responsible for precipitation of the surficial deposits, and further that the water regime has alternated between the two thermal waters more than once since the end of the Pinedale Glaciation (∼10,000 years B.P.). Alternation of zones of calcium-rich and sodium- and potassium-rich hydrothermal minerals also suggests that the water chemistry in this drill hole varies with depth.

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