Bulletin of Volcanology

, 79:10 | Cite as

Terminal Pleistocene to early Holocene volcanic eruptions at Zuni Salt Lake, west-central New Mexico, USA

Research Article


Zuni Salt Lake (ZSL) is a large maar in the Red Hill–Quemado volcanic field located in west-central New Mexico in the southwestern USA. Stratigraphic analysis of sections in and around the maar, coupled with optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dating, indicate that ZSL volcanic activity occurred between ∼13.4 and 9.9 ka and was most likely confined to a ≤500-year interval sometime between ∼12.3 and 11.0 ka. The basal volcanic unit consists of locally widespread basaltic ash fallout interpreted to represent a violent or wind-aided strombolian eruption tentatively attributed to Cerro Pomo, a scoria cone ∼10 km south of ZSL. Subsequent eruptions emanated from vents near or within the present-day ZSL maar crater. Strombolian eruptions of multiple spatter and scoria cones produced basaltic lava and scoria lapilli fallout. Next, a phreatomagmatic eruption created the maar crater and surrounding tephra rim and apron. ZSL eruptions ended with strombolian eruptions that formed three scoria cones on the crater floor. The revised age range of ZSL is younger and more precise than the 190–24 ka 2-sigma age range derived from previous argon dating. This implies that other morphologically youthful, argon-dated volcanoes on the southern margin of the Colorado Plateau might be substantially younger than previously reported.


Jemez Lineament Red Hill–Quemado volcanic field Zuni Salt Lake Luminescence dating Radiocarbon dating Phreatomagmatic 

Supplementary material

445_2016_1089_ESM1_ESM.docx (59 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 59 kb)
445_2016_1089_ESM2_ESM.docx (456 kb)
ESM 2(DOCX 456 kb)
445_2016_1089_ESM3_ESM.docx (183 kb)
ESM 3(DOCX 183 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geology, Baylor UniversityWacoUSA

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