Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 343–360 | Cite as

Diverse mid-Miocene silicic volcanism associated with the Yellowstone–Newberry thermal anomaly

  • Matthew E. BruesekeEmail author
  • William K. Hart
  • Matthew T. Heizler
Research Article


The Santa Rosa–Calico volcanic field (SC) of northern Nevada is a complex, multi-vent mid-Miocene eruptive complex that formed in response to regional lithospheric extension and flood basalt volcanism. Santa Rosa–Calico volcanism initiated at ∼16.7 Ma, concurrent with regional Steens–Columbia River flood basalt activity and is characterized by a complete compositional spectrum of basalt through high-silica rhyolite. To better understand the relationships between upwelling mafic magmatism, coeval extension, and magmatic system development on the Oregon Plateau we have conducted the first comprehensive study of Santa Rosa–Calico silicic volcanism. Detailed stratigraphic-based field sampling and mapping illustrate that silicic activity in this volcanic field was primarily focused along its eastern and western margins. At least five texturally distinct silicic units are found in the western Santa Rosa–Calico volcanic field, including abundant lava flows, near vent deposits, and shallow intrusive bodies. Similar physical features are found in the eastern portion of the volcanic field where four physically distinct units are present. The western and eastern Santa Rosa–Calico units are characterized by abundant macro- and microscopic disequilibrium textures, reflecting a complex petrogenetic history. Additionally, unlike other mid-Miocene Oregon Plateau volcanic fields (e.g. McDermitt), the Santa Rosa–Calico volcanic field is characterized by a paucity of caldera-forming volcanism. Only the Cold Springs tuff, which crops out across the central portion of the volcanic field, was caldera-derived. Major and trace element geochemical variations are present within and between eastern and western Santa Rosa–Calico silicic units and these chemical differences, coupled with the observed disequilibrium textures, illustrate the action of open-system petrogenetic processes and melt derivation from heterogeneous source materials. The processes and styles of Santa Rosa–Calico silicic magmatism are linked to three primary factors, local focusing of and thermal and material contributions from the regional flood basalt event, lithospheric extension within the northern portion of the Northern Nevada rift, and interaction of mid-Miocene silicic magmas with pre-Santa Rosa–Calico lithosphere. Similar processes and styles of mid-Miocene silicic volcanism likely occurred across the Oregon Plateau in regions characterized by both focused lithospheric extension and localized mafic magmatism.


Miocene Oregon plateau Owyhee–Humboldt Santa Rosa–Calico Silicic Steens basalt Yellowstone 



We thank Stan Mertzman for XRF trace element analyses, John Morton for his assistance with DCP analyses, Alan Wallace and Peter Vikre for their continued discussions on the evolution of the Northern Nevada rift and local mineralization, and Wes LeMasurier for his detailed field map of the Hinkey Summit region. We thank Charles Bruce Minturn III, Lauren Gilbert, Amy Maloy, Jacob Knight, and Steve Pasquale for their valuable assistance in the field and for work on related sub-projects. We also thank Katharine Cashman, Craig White, and Chris Henry for providing constructive and thoughtful reviews and Mike McCurry for handling this manuscript. Primary financial support for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation (EAR-0106144 to Hart) and a 2001 Geological Society of America Student Research Grant (Brueseke).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew E. Brueseke
    • 1
    Email author
  • William K. Hart
    • 2
  • Matthew T. Heizler
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  3. 3.New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral ResourcesNew Mexico TechSocorroUSA

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