Thirty-nine samples of basaltic core were collected from wells 121 and 123, located approximately 1.8 km apart north and south of the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. Samples were collected from depths ranging from 15 to 221 m below land surface for the purpose of establishing stratigraphic correlations between these two wells. Elemental analyses indicate that the basalts consist of three principal chemical types. Two of these types are each represented by a single basalt flow in each well. The third chemical type is represented by many basalt flows and includes a broad range of chemical compositions that is distinguished from the other two types. Basalt flows within the third type were identified by hierarchical K-cluster analysis of 14 representative elements: Fe, Ca, K, Na, Sc, Co, La, Ce, Sm, Eu, Yb, Hf, Ta, and Th. Cluster analyses indicate correlations of basalt flows between wells 121 and 123 at depths of approximately 38-40 m, 125-128 m, 131-137 m, 149-158 m, and 183-198 m. Probable correlations also are indicated for at least seven other depth intervals. Basalt flows in several depth intervals do not correlate on the basis of chemical compositions, thus reflecting possible flow margins in the sequence between the wells. Multi-element chemical data provide a useful method for determining stratigraphic correlations of basalt in the upper 1-2 km of the eastern Snake River Plain.
Additional publication details
Geochemistry and stratigraphic correlation of basalt lavas beneath the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory