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Geology of the Arco-Big Southern Butte area, eastern Snake River Plain, and volcanic hazards to the radioactive waste management complex, and other waste storage and reactor facilities at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

Open-File Report 78-691

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Abstract

The Arco-Big Southern Butte area of the eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho, includes a volcanic rift zone and more than 70 Holocene and late Quaternary basalt volcanoes. The Arco volcanic rift zone extends southeast for 50 km from Arco to about 10 km southeast of Big Southern Butte. The rift zone is the locus of extensional faults, graben, fissure basaltic volcanic vents, several rhyolite domes at Big Southern Butte, and a ferrolatite volcano at Cedar Butte. Limited radiometric age data and geological field criteria suggest that all volcanism in the area is younger than 700,000 years; at least 67 separate basaltic eruptions are estimated to have occurred within the last 200,000 years. The average volcanic recurrence interval for the Arco-Big Southern Butte area is approximately one eruption per 3,000 years. Radioactive waste storage and reactor facilities at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory may be subject to potential volcanic hazards. The geologic history and inferred past volcanic events in the Arco-Big Southern Butte area provide a basis for assessing the volcanic hazard. It is recommended that a radiometric age-dating study be performed on rocks in cored drill holes to provide a more precise estimate of the eruption recurrence interval for the region surrounding and including the Radioactive Waste Management Complex. It is also recommended that several geophysical monitoring systems (dry tilt and seismic) be installed to provide adequate warning of future volcanic eruptions.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Geology of the Arco-Big Southern Butte area, eastern Snake River Plain, and volcanic hazards to the radioactive waste management complex, and other waste storage and reactor facilities at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
78-691
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1978
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
v, 70 leaves :col. ill., maps ;27 cm.