The Jim Sage volcanic suite (JSVS) exposed in the Jim Sage and Cotterel Mountains of southern Idaho (USA) consists of two volcanic members composed of ∼240 km3 of Miocene rhyolite lavas separated by an interval of lacustrine sediments. It is capped by rheomorphic ignimbrite and as much as 100 m of basaltic lava flows probably derived from the central Snake River Plain (SRP) province to the north. The occurrence of volcanic vents in the JSVS links the lava flows to their local eruptive centers, while the adjacent Albion–Raft River–Grouse Creek metamorphic core complex exposes ∼3000 km2 of once deep-seated rocks that offer constraints on the composition of the potential crustal sources of these rhyolites. U-Pb zircon ages from the rhyolite lavas of the JSVS range from 9.5 to 8.2 Ma. The Miocene basalt of the Cotterel Mountains has an 87Sr/86Sri composition of 0.7066–0.7075 and ɛNd(i) = –3.7, and the rhyolite lavas of the JSVS have 87Sr/86Sri = 0.7114–0.7135 and εNd(i) values that range from –6.7 to –7.1. Zircon from the rhyolites of the JSVS range in δ18Ozr (Vienna standard mean ocean water, VSMOW) from –0.5‰ to 5.7‰ and have εHf(i) values ranging from –0.8 to –6.8. Based on geochronology, whole-rock major elements, trace elements, isotopes (Sr and Nd), and in situ zircon O and Hf isotopic compositions, we infer that the JSVS is genetically related to the central SRP province. The eruption of the low-δ18O rhyolites of the JSVS, outside of the main topographic extent of the SRP province (without the large calderas inferred for the SRP rhyolites) implies that there might be an alternative mechanism for the formation of the low-δ18O signature other than the proposed assimilation of hydrothermally altered caldera blocks. One suggestion is that the north to south propagation of SRP-type low-δ18O rhyolitic melt along the Albion fault led to off-axis magmatism. Another possibility is that there was prior and widespread (across a region wider than the SRP) hydrothermal alteration of the crust related to its earlier magmatic and faulting history.
The eruption of SRP-type lavas in the hanging wall of an evolving metamorphic core complex helps us outline the role of the SRP magmatic province in the extensional evolution of the northeastern Basin and Range. The lavas of the JSVS imply the addition of basalt, related to the SRP hotspot, to the crust beneath the Raft River Basin that provided a heat source for crustal melting and weakening of the deep crust; this led to a vertical component of crustal flow and doming during extension, after the eruption of the 9.5–8.2 Ma JSVS rhyolites. This younger than 8.2 Ma component of vertical motion during faulting of the Miocene stratified sequence of the Raft River Basin and the rotation of the Albion fault to shallower angles collectively resulted in the subhorizontal detachment structure imaged seismically beneath the Raft River Basin.
- Received 15 May 2013.
- Revision received 6 September 2013.
- Accepted 4 October 2013.
- © 2013 Geological Society of America