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In situ formation of welded tuff-like textures in the carapace of a voluminous silicic lava flow, Owyhee County, SW Idaho
The Badlands rhyolite, on the Owyhee Plateau of southwestern Idaho, can be demonstrated to be a large lava flow on the basis of its geometry of large and small flow lobes, its well-exposed near-vent features, and its response to pre-existing topography. However, samples of the dense upper vitrophyre of the unit reveal a range of annealed fragmental textures, including material which closely resembles the compressed, welded glass shards which are characteristic of ignimbrites. Formation of these tuff-like textures involved processes probably common to emplacement of most silicic lava flow units. Decompression upon extrusion causes inflation of pumice at the surface of the lava flow; some of this pumice is subsequently comminuted, producing loose bubble-wall shards, bits of pumice, chips of dense glass, and fragments of phenocrysts. This debris sifts down around loose blocks and into open fractures deeper in the flow, where it can be reheated, compressed, and annealed to varying degrees. The end result is a dense vitrophyre layer (beneath the true upper, non-welded carapace breccia) which can be extremely texturally heterogeneous, with areas of flowfoliated lava occurring very near lava which in many aspects looks like welded ignimbrite, complete with flattened pumices. Identical textures in other silicic units have been cited by previous workers as evidence that those units erupted as pyroclastic flows which then underwent sufficient rheomorphism to create a flowfoliated rock
ISSN : 0258-8900 CODEN : BUVOEW
Bulletin of volcanology (Print) A. 1996, vol. 57, n° 8, pp. 672-686 [Illustrations : Tableau] [bibl. : 42 ref.]
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