UBC Theses and Dissertations
Volcanic facies architecture of the Chilcotin Group basalts at Chasm Provincial Park, British Columbia Farrell, Rebecca-Ellen
The Chilcotin Group basalt (CGB) of south-central British Columbia, Canada defines a medium-sized igneous province (ca. 17, 000 km²), characterized by basaltic lavas, volcaniclastic deposits, and paleosols with minor ash deposits. The CGB has previously been mapped only at reconnasissance scale (1:250 000), and most studies concentrated on geochemical and petrological studies; no stratigraphic relationships or volcanological models were attempted. Chasm canyon exposes one of the thickest successions of the CGB. Here, I explicate the volcanic facies architecture at Chasm to reconstruct the emplacement history and volcanism in the Neogene using geological mapping, cross-sections, and graphic logs. Specifically, seven discrete facies are recognized. The coherent facies are: i) vesicular/amygdaloidal pahoehoe lobes; ii) columnar-jointed, sheet-like lava; and iii) intact basaltic pillow lava. The clastic facies are: iv) paleosols; v) pillow-fragment breccia; vi) hyaloclastite; and vii) lacustrine sandstone. Facies are grouped into broad facies associations including the subaerial facies and interstratified subaqueous and subaerial facies. The subaqueous facies are a minor component in the canyon stratigraphy. The geometry of the lavas is indicative of the eruptive style of volcanism at Chasm, which defines the volcanic facies architecture. Four architectural elements have been observed: i) tabular-classic (TC), which represents a steady continuous supply of subaerial effusive basaltic lavas; ii) compound-braided (CB), which is typical of a shield volcano where anastomosing, branching flow fields result; iii) transitional-mixed, a combination of TC- and CB-type suggestive of bimodal emplacement, perhaps sourced from coalesced shield volcanoes and flank fissures; and iv) foreset-bedded indicative of subaqueous lavas. The exposed rocks record the evolution of CGB volcanism through ten distinct eruptive episodes and intermittent lakes, with periods of quiescence characterized by the paleosol development. Whole-rock Ar-Ar dates were obtained; the duration of volcanism is calculated as 1.28 ± 0.61 m.y. Emplacement is suggestive of shield volcanoes and small fissure eruptions with a northerly flow direction. Laterally extensive paleosols, classified as Brunisolic soils, were examined closely and display a range of morphological features suggestive of the paleo-environment. Lateral variability amongst paleosols have been mapped over a distance of more than 8 km, including a subqueous to subaerial transition.
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