Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Donald W. Fiesinger


Basalt outcrops in Curlew Valley consist of vii several flow remnants and eruptive centers situated along the valley margins. Basalt is also found in association with salic rocks that erupted in the central portion of The basalts are of probable Pliocene age and the valley. were erupted during a period of active extensional tectonics. Since their emplacement, and downfaulted. the basalts have been extensively eroded The present morphology reflects the erosional and depositional processes of prehistoric Lake Bonneville.

Twelve samples were analyzed chemically for major oxides, trace elements, and rare-earth elements. The basalts form a hypersthene normative series ranging from olivine tholeiite to tholeiite. Based on chemical data, the basalts form three distinct groups. Comparison of the major oxides shows two of the groups forming a differentiation sequence separate from the third group. Trace element and rare-earth element data indicate that the three chemical groups are related to a common source but that two batches of magma probably emanated from this source.

Pyrolite, spinel lherzolite, and garnet lherzolite were evaluated as hypothetical mantle materials from which a parent magma might be derived through partial melting. Based on rare-earth element profiles, garnet lherzolite appears to be the most likely source material for deriving the basalts. The trace element and rare-earth element data do not show any anomalies that would suggest contamination from crustal material.

Comparison of chemical data shows that the Curlew Valley basalts are genetically similar to basalts from the Kelton and Rozel Point-Black Mountain areas, southwest and southeast of the study area, respectively. The Curlew Valley basalts are chemically similar to olivine tholeiites from the Snake River Plain and Blackfoot Reservoir areas in Idaho, but they do not show much similarity to basalts near Snowville, Utah, northeast of the study area. The Curlew Valley basalts are generally more iron rich and less alkalic than other basaltic rocks from the eastern Basin and Range Province.



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