Study of the variations of direction and intensity of the geomagnetic field as recorded by the Miocene lava flows on Steens Mountain, southeastern Oregon, has resulted in a detailed description of total field behavior during a reversal in polarity. In addition to information about the polarity reversal itself, the detailed paleomagnetic record includes several thousand years of geomagnetic history preceding and following the polarity transition at 15.5 Ma. In order to test the feasibility of using this record as a means of correlation in this part of the western United States, comparisons are made of reconnaissance and previously published paleomagnetic records obtained from what has been thought to be the Steens Basalt or rocks of equivalent age. Despite the fact that many of these earlier studies were not done in detail and were not intended for correlation purposes, convincing similarities among some of the records are evident. The Steens Basalt paleomagnetic record does, indeed, have potential as a correlation tool during this time of widespread basaltic volcanism. Additionally, paleomagnetic data from flows that were sampled in detail yield a middle Miocene paleomagnetic pole at 88.3°N, 209.0° (α95 = 6.3°) for the High Lava Plains of Oregon. This pole position is statistically indistinguishable from the earth's rotational axis and implies that no tectonic rotation of this region has occurred since these lava flows were erupted. Data from selected sites within the coeval part of the Columbia River Basalt Group yield a paleomagnetic pole at 88.7°N, 171.6°E (α95 = 4.0°). The Columbia River Basalt Group pole is statistically indistinguishable from either the rotational axis or from the High Lava Plains pole. These findings indicate no post‐20 Ma differential rotation between south‐eastern Washington and south‐central Oregon, in contrast to previous interpretations.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||The Steens Mountain (Oregon) geomagnetic polarity transition: 3. Its regional significance|
|Series title||Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth|
|Contributing office(s)||Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center|