Publication Details

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Title: The Geysers ‐ Cobb Mountain Magma System, California (Part 1): U‐Pb zircon ages of volcanic rocks, conditions of zircon crystallization and magma residence times
Authors: A.K. Schmitt, M. Grove, T.M. Harrison, O.M. Lovera, J. Hulen, and M. Waters
Publication: Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, v. 67, p. 3423‐3442.
Publish Date: Sep 2003
DOI: 10.1016/S0016-7037(03)00140-6
PDF: pdf
BibTEX Citation: Schmitt:2003.bib


Combined U‐Pb zircon and 40Ar/39Ar sanidine data from volcanic rocks within or adjacent to the Geysers geothermal reservoir constrain the timing of episodic eruption events and the pre‐eruptive magma history. Zircon U‐Pb concordia intercept model ages (corrected for initial 230Th disequilibrium) decrease as predicted from stratigraphic and regional geological relationships (1σ analytical error): 2.47 ± 0.04 Ma (rhyolite of Pine Mountain), 1.38 ± 0.01 Ma (rhyolite of Alder Creek), 1.33 ± 0.04 Ma (rhyodacite of Cobb Mountain), 1.27 ± 0.03 Ma (dacite of Cobb Valley), and 0.94 ± 0.01 Ma (dacite of Tyler Valley). A significant (⁓0.2−0.3 Ma) difference between these ages and sanidine 40Ar/39Ar ages measured for the same samples demonstrates that zircon crystallized well before eruption. Zircons U‐Pb ages from the underlying main‐phase Geysers Plutonic Complex (GPC) are indistinguishable from those of the Cobb Mountain volcanics. While this is in line with compositional evidence that the GPC fed the Cobb Mountain eruptions, the volcanic units conspicuously lack older (⁓1.8 Ma) zircons from the shallowest part of the GPC. Discontinuous zircon age populations and compositional relationships in the volcanic and plutonic samples are incompatible with zircon residing in a single long‐lived upper crustal magma chamber. Instead we favor a model in which zircons were recycled by remelting of just‐solidified rocks during episodic injection of more mafic magmas. This is consistent with thermochronologic evidence that the GPC cooled below 350 °C at the time the Cobb Mountain volcanics were erupted.