Voluminous mid-Miocene rhyolitic ash-flow tuffs and lava flows are exposed along the northern and southern margins of the central and western Snake River Plain. These rhyolites are essentially anhydrous with the general mineral assemblage of plagioclase ??sanidine ?? quartz + augite + pigeonite ?? hypersthene ?? fayalitic olivine + Fe-Ti oxides + apatite + zircon which provides an opportunity to compare feldspar, pyroxene, and Fe-Ti oxide equilibration temperatures for the same rocks. Estimated pyroxene equilibration temperatures (based on the geothermometers of Lindsley and coworkers) range from 850 to 1000??C, and these are well correlated with whole-rock compositions. With the exception of one sample, agreement between the two-pyroxene thermometers tested is well within 50??C. Fe-Ti oxide geothermometers applied to fresh magnetite and ilmenite generally yield temperatures about 50 to 100??C lower than the pyroxene temperatures, and erratic results are obtained if these minerals exhibit effects of subsolidus oxidation and exsolution. Results of feldspar thermometry are more complicated, and reflect uncertainties in the thermometer calibrations as well as in the degree of attainment of equilibrium between plagioclase and sanidine. In general, temperatures obtained using the Ghiorso (1984) and Green and Usdansky (1986) feldspar thermometers agree with the pyroxene temperatures within the respective uncertainties. However, uncertainties in the feldspar temperatures are the larger of the two (and exceed ??60??C for many samples). The feldspar thermometer of Fuhrman and Lindsley (1988) produces systematically lower temperatures for many of the samples studied. The estimated pyroxene temperatures are considered most representative of actual magmatic temperatures for these rhyolites. This range of temperatures is significantly higher than those for rhyolites from many other suites, and is consistent with the hypothesis that the Snake River Plain rhyolitic magmas formed by partial fusion of relatively dry (e.g. granulitic) crustal lithologies. ?? 1992 Springer-Verlag.
Additional publication details
Mineralogy and geothermometry of high-temperature rhyolites from the central and western Snake River Plain