Latest Pleistocene-Holocene basaltic lava fields of the Snake River Plain, Idaho, have been dated by the radiocarbon method. Backhoe excavations beneath lava flows typically yielded carbon-bearing, charred eolian sediment. This material provided most of the samples for this study; the sediment typically contains less than 0.2% carbon. Charcoal fragments were obtained from tree molds but only from a few backhoe excavations. Contamination of the charred sediments and charcoal by younger carbon components is extensive; the effects of contamination were mitigated but appropriate pretreatment of samples using acid and alkali leaches. Twenty of the more than 60 lava flows of the Craters of the Moon lava field have been dated; their ages range from about 15,000 to about 2000 yr B.P. The ages permit assignment of the flows to eight distinct eruptive periods with an average recurrence interval of about 2000 yr. The seven other latest Pleistocene-Holocene lava fields were all emplaced in short eruptive bursts. Their 14C ages (yr B.P.) are: Kings Bowl (2222?? 100), Wapi (2270 ?? 50), Hells Half Acre (5200 ?? 150), Shoshone (10,130 ?? 350), North Robbers and South Robbers (11.980 ?? 300), and Cerro Grande (13,380 ?? 350). ?? 1986.
Additional publication details
Radiocarbon studies of latest Pleistocene and Holocene lava flows of the Snake River Plain, Idaho: Data, lessons, interpretations