Geologic map of the east part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field, north-central Arizona

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 1960
By:  and 



The geologic map of the east part of the San Francisco volcanic field (called the East map area) is one of five adjoining geologic maps (fig. 1) prepared under the Geothermal Research Program of the U.S. Geological Survey as a basis for interpreting the history of magmatic activity in the volcanic field. This map is a revision of an earlier one (Moore and Wolfe, 1976). Detail of pyroclastic and alluvial deposits has been reduced for clarity on this uncolored version, and eolian deposits, represented by numerous active dunes of basaltic ash, have been completely omitted. Small cinder cones developed over rootless vents on the basalt flow (Qbb) of = vent 2019 have also been omitted. In addition, a few changes have been made in correlations of flows and vents. The stratigraphic classification has been modified because magnetic-polarity determinations and new K-Ar ages indicate that the physiographically defined Tappan and Woodhouse age groups (Moore and others, 1976) overlap significantly in age, and the rocks of those age groups are now assigned to the Brunhes or Matuyama Polarity Chronozones (Mankinen and Dalrymple, 1979).

The San Francisco field, which is largely Pliocene and Pleistocene in age, is in northern Arizona, just north of the broad transition zone between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range province. It is one of several dominantly basaltic volcanic fields of late Cenozoic age situated near the southern margin of the Colorado Plateau. The East map area encompasses approximately 1,220 km2.

The volcanic field contains rocks ranging in composition from basalt to rhyolite--the products of eruption through Precambrian basement rocks and approximately a kilometer of overlying, nearly horizontal, Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks. About 500 km3 of erupted rocks cover about 5,000 km2 of predominantly Permian and locally preserved Triassic sedimentary rocks that form the erosionally stripped surface of the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona.

In the East map area, basalt, basaltic andesite and locally associated small dacite domes, and, in a few cases, andesite were extruded from numerous individual vents, each of which presumably erupted briefly and then became inactive. Such short-lived vents, represented mainly by cinder cones or tuff rings, are widely distributed over the map area, and their flows cover much of its surface. However, repeated eruption of andesite, dacite, and rhyolite domes and flows formed the O'Leary Peak eruptive center in the northwest part of the map area, and flows of andesite (Qa1 and Qa2) from the San Francisco Mountain stratovolcano entered the East map area from the west.

A northeastward progression of volcanism during the past 15 m.y., from central Arizona into the San Francisco volcanic field, is shown by the compilation of Luedke and Smith (1978). Although complicated in detail, a general northeastward to eastward progression of volcanic activity is also apparent within the San Francisco volcanic field. Thus, much of the eruptive activity of the East map area occurred late in the development of the San Francisco field, and the East map area includes the youngest volcanic rocks of the field. These youngest rocks were formed during the Sunset Crater eruption, which occurred within the past 1,000 years (Smiley, 1958).

A northeast-trending, faulted monocline occurs near Doney Mountain in the north-central part of the East map area, and a broad north- to northwest-trending anticline occurs at the east edge of the map area. Nearby volcanic rocks are not folded or faulted by either structure.

Northwest-trending normal faults of small throw occur in the southern and northwestern parts of the map area. The faults in the northwestern part transect basalt flows of Matuyama and Brunhes ages (Tmb, Qmb, and Qbb). The volcanic rocks are not faulted elsewhere in the East map area. However, local northwestward elongation and alignment of vent deposits, as shown for example by the fissure deposits of the Sunset Crater eruption (Qbsbf), indicate the presence of a northwest-trending fracture system that apparently localized some of the eruptive feeders.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Geologic map of the east part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field, north-central Arizona
Series title Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number 1960
DOI 10.3133/mf1960
Year Published 1987
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: 46 p.; 2 Plates: 38.07 x 58.09 inches and 38.52 x 50.01 inches
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial San Francisco volcanic field
Datum National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929
Scale 50000
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details