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Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5049

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy DOE/ID-22214

Paleomagnetic Correlation of Surface and Subsurface Basaltic Lava Flows and Flow Groups in the Southern Part of the Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho, with Paleomagnetic Data Tables for Drill Cores

By Duane E. Champion, Mary K.V. Hodges, Linda C. Davis, and Marvin A. Lanphere

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.3 MB)Abstract

Paleomagnetic inclination and polarity studies have been conducted on thousands of subcore samples from 51 coreholes located at and near the Idaho National Laboratory. These studies are used to paleomagnetically characterize and correlate successive stratigraphic intervals in each corehole to similar depth intervals in adjacent coreholes. Paleomagnetic results from 83 surface paleomagnetic sites, within and near the INL, are used to correlate these buried lava flow groups to basaltic shield volcanoes still exposed on the surface of the eastern Snake River Plain. Sample handling and demagnetization protocols are described as well as the paleomagnetic data averaging process. Paleomagnetic inclination comparisons between coreholes located only kilometers apart show comparable stratigraphic successions of mean inclination values over tens of meters of depth. At greater distance between coreholes, comparable correlation of mean inclination values is less consistent because flow groups may be missing or additional flow groups may be present and found at different depth intervals. Two shallow intersecting cross-sections, A–A’ and B–B’ (oriented southwest-northeast and northwest-southeast, respectively), drawn through southwest Idaho National Laboratory coreholes show the corehole to corehole or surface to corehole correlations derived from the paleomagnetic inclination data.

From stratigraphic top to bottom, key results included the (1) Quaking Aspen Butte flow group, which erupted from Quaking Aspen Butte southwest of the Idaho National Laboratory, flowed northeast, and has been found in the subsurface in corehole USGS 132; (2) Vent 5206 flow group, which erupted near the southwestern border of the Idaho National Laboratory, flowed north and east, and has been found in the subsurface in coreholes USGS 132, USGS 129, USGS 131, USGS 127, USGS 130, USGS 128, and STF-AQ-01; and (3) Mid Butte flow group, which erupted north of U.S. Highway 20, flowed northwest, and has been found in the subsurface at coreholes ARA-COR-005 and STF-AQ-01. The high K20 flow group erupted from a vent that may now be buried south of U.S. Highway 20 near Middle Butte, flowed north, and is found in the subsurface in coreholes USGS 131, USGS 127, USGS 130, USGS 128, USGS 123, STF-AQ-01, and ARA-COR-005 ending near the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center. The vent 5252 flow group erupted just south of U.S. Highway 20 near Middle and East Buttes, flowed northwest, and is found in the subsurface in coreholes ARA-COR-005, STF-AQ-01, USGS 130, USGS 128, ICPP 214, USGS 123, ICPP 023, USGS 121, USGS 127, and USGS 131. The Big Lost flow group erupted from a now-buried vent near the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, flowed southwest to corehole USGS 135, and northeast to coreholes USGS 132, USGS 129, USGS 131, USGS 127, USGS 130, STF-AQ-01, and ARA-COR-005. The AEC Butte flow group erupted from AEC Butte near the Advanced Test Reactor Complex and flowed south to corehole Middle 1823, northwest to corehole USGS 134, northeast to coreholes USGS 133 and NRF 7P, and south to coreholes USGS 121, ICPP 023, USGS 123, and USGS 128.

Evidence of progressive subsidence of the axial zone of the ESRP is shown in these cross-sections, distorting the original attitudes of the lava flow groups and interbedded sediments. A deeper cross-section, C–C’ (oriented west to east), spanning the entire southern Idaho National Laboratory shows correlations of the lava flow groups in the saturated part of the ESRP aquifer.

Areally extensive flow groups in the deep subsurface (from about 100–800 meters below land surface) can be traced over long distances. In cross-section C–C’, the flow group labeled “Matuyama” can be correlated from corehole USGS 135 to corehole NPR Test/W-02, a distance of about 28 kilometers (17 miles). The flow group labeled “Matuyama 1.21 Ma” can be correlated from corehole Middle 1823 to corehole ANL-OBS-A-001, a distance of 26 kilometers (16 miles). Other flow groups correlate over distances of up to about 18 kilometers (11 miles).

First posted March 2, 2011

For additional information contact:
Director, Idaho Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
230 Collins Road
Boise, Idaho 83702
http://id.water.usgs.gov

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Suggested citation:

Champion, D.E., Hodges, M.K.V., Davis, L.C., and Lanphere, M.A., 2011, Paleomagnetic correlation of surface and subsurface basaltic lava flows and flow groups in the southern part of the Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho, with paleomagnetic data tables for drill cores: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5049, 34 p., 1 pl. (DOE/ID 22214).



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Geologic Setting

Geomagnetic Framework

Sampling and Analytical Techniques

Correlation Techniques

Lava Flow Group Labeling Conventions

Cross-Sections

Summary and Conclusions

Acknowledgments

References Cited

Paleomagnetic Inclination Data for Selected Coreholes at the Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho


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