The western Snake River Plain graben in southwestern Idaho includes a large hydrovolcanic field which was produced in late Miocene to Pleistocene time by the interaction of rising basaltic magmas with the waters and water-saturated deposits of an enormous freshwater lake, Lake Idaho. The phreatomagmatic volcanoes in this field may be grouped into three types: emergent, subaqueous and subaerial. Emergent volcanoes, which began erupting under water and built up above the lake level, are relatively large and symmetrical, are dominated by bedded tuffs and late magmatic deposits, and are excellent indicators of water depth at the time of the eruption. Subaqueous volcanoes, which never built up above the lake level, are relatively small and asymmetrical, are dominated by basal massive deposits, and are potentially useful in discriminating between deep- and very-deep-water settings. Subaerial volcanoes, which were formed when magmas intercepted buried aquifers and interacted explosively with water, are small tuff rings and maars with variable shapes, are composed of subequal (although variable) proportions of basal massive deposits, bedded tuffs and late magmatic deposits, and are useful in determining the stratigraphic successions underlying them. ?? 1992.
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Types of phreatomagmatic volcanoes in the western Snake River Plain, Idaho, USA