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Y-3, a U.S. Geological Survey research diamond-drill hole in Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, reached a depth of 156.7 m. The recovered drill core consists of 42.2 m of surficial (mostly glacial) sediments and two rhyolite flows (Nez Perce Creek flow and an older, unnamed rhyolite flow) of the Central Plateau Member of the Pleistocene Plateau Rhyolite. Hydrothermal alteration is fairly extensive in most of the drill core. The surficial deposits are largely cemented by silica and zeolite minerals; and the two rhyolite flows are, in part, bleached by thermal water that deposited numerous hydrothermal minerals in cavities and fractures. Hydrothermal minerals containing sodium as a dominant cation (analcime, clinoptilolite, mordenite, Na-smectite, and aegirine) are more abundant than calcium-bearing minerals (calcite, fluorite, Ca-smectite, and pectolite) in the sedimentary section of the drill core. In the volcanic section of drill core Y-3, calcium-rich minerals (dachiardite, laumontite, yugawaralite, calcite, fluorite, Ca-smectite, pectolite, and truscottite) are predominant over sodium-bearing minerals (aegirine, mordenite, and Na-smectite). Hydrothermal minerals that contain significant amounts of potassium (alunite and lepidolite in the sediments and illitesmectite in the rhyolite flows) are found in the two drill-core intervals. Drill core y:.3 also contains hydrothermal silica minerals (opal, [3-cristobalite, chalcedony, and quartz), other clay minerals (allophane, halloysite, kaolinite, and chlorite), gypsum, pyrite, and hematite. The dominance of calcium-bearing hydrothermal minerals in the lower rhyolitic section of the y:.3 drill core appears to be due to loss of calcium, along with potassium, during adiabatic cooling of an ascending boiling water.
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Hydrothermal alteration in research drill hole Y-3, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
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