Eocene intrusion of alkaline basaltic to trachyandesitic magmas into unlithified, Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) to Eocene fluvial strata in part of the Trans-Pecos igneous province in West Texas produced an array of features recording both nonexplosive and explosive magma/wet-sediment interaction. Intrusive complexes with 40Ar/39Ar dates of ~ 47-46??Ma consist of coherent basalt, peperite, and disrupted sediment. Two of the complexes cutting Cretaceous strata contain masses of conglomerate derived from Eocene fluvial deposits that, at the onset of intrusive activity, would have been > 400-500??m above the present level of exposure. These intrusive complexes are inferred to be remnants of diatremes that fed maar volcanoes during an early stage of magmatism in this part of the Trans-Pecos province. Disrupted Cretaceous strata along diatreme margins record collapse of conduit walls during and after subsurface phreatomagmatic explosions. Eocene conglomerate slumped downward from higher levels during vent excavation. Coherent to pillowed basaltic intrusions emplaced at the close of explosive activity formed peperite within the conglomerate, within disrupted Cretaceous strata in the conduit walls, and within inferred remnants of the phreatomagmatic slurry that filled the vents during explosive volcanism. A younger series of intrusions with 40Ar/39Ar dates of ~ 42??Ma underwent nonexplosive interaction with Upper Cretaceous to Paleocene mud and sand. Dikes and sills show fluidal, billowed, quenched margins against the host strata, recording development of surface instabilities between magma and groundwater-rich sediment. Accentuation of billowed margins resulted in propagation of intrusive pillows into the adjacent sediment. More intense disruption and mingling of quenched magma with sediment locally produced fluidal and blocky peperite, but sufficient volumes of pore fluid were not heated rapidly enough to generate phreatomagmatic explosions. This work suggests that Trans-Pecos Texas may be an important locale for the study of subvolcanic phreatomagmatic processes and associated phenomena. Eocene intrusions in the study area underwent complex interactions with wet sediment at shallow levels beneath the surface in strata as old as Maastrichtian, which must have remained unlithified and rich in pore water for ~ 20-25??Ma. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Nonexplosive and explosive magma/wet-sediment interaction during emplacement of Eocene intrusions into Cretaceous to Eocene strata, Trans-Pecos igneous province, West Texas