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The North Arch volcanic field is located north of Oahu on the Hawaiian Arch, a 200-m high flexural arch formed by loading of the Hawaiian Islands. These flood basalt flows cover an area of about 25,000 km2; the nearly flat-lying sheet-like flows extend about 100 km both north and south from the axis of the flexural arch. Samples from 26 locations in the volcanic field range in composition from nephelinite to alkalic basalt. Ages estimated from stratigraphy, thickness of sediment on top of the flows, and thickness of palagonite alteration rinds on the recovered lavas, range from about 0.75-0.9 Ma for the youngest lavas to somewhat older than 2.7 Ma for the oldest lavas. Most of the flow field consists of extensive sheetflows of dense basanite and alkalic basalt. Small hills consisting of pillow basalt and hyaloclastite of mainly nephelinite and alkalic basalt occur within the flow field but were not the source vents for the extensive flows. Many of the vent lavas are highly vesicular, apparently because of degassing of CO2. The lavas are geochemically similar to the rejuvenated-stage lavas of the Koloa and Honolulu Volcanics and were generated by partial melting of sources similar to those of the Koloa Volcanics. Prior to eruption, these magmas may have accumulated at or near the base of the lithosphere in a structural trap created by upbowing of the lithosphere. ?? 1990.
Additional Publication Details
Pliocene and Pleistocene alkalic flood basalts on the seafloor north of the Hawaiian islands