Paleomagnetism and Lithostratigraphy of the Miocene Tuff of Huntoon Creek Type Section

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Samuel Johnson1, Christopher J Pluhar2 and Justin R. Lindeman1, (1)California State University Fresno, Fresno, CA, United States, (2)California State University Fresno, Earth & Environmental Science Dept, Fresno, CA, United States
Here we define the Tuff of Huntoon Creek (THC), previously identified and mapped in Mono Basin, CA by Gilbert et al. (1968) as “latite ignimbrite” (K-Ar date of 11.1-11.9 Ma). Formally defining this formation and its paleomagnetic characteristics, can help reveal the spatial and temporal relationships of the Walker Lane and Mina Deflection structural features, including distribution of vertical axis rotation. THC is composed of four tuffs with an intercalated volcaniclastic sandstone giving a total stratigraphic thickness of ~300 m. We define THC in a gorge of Huntoon Creek, where the stratigraphic section is capped by Pliocene basalt. The lowest and most extensive stratigraphic unit, the Huntoon Valley member of THC, is ~243 m thick and can be distinguished from other units by the presence of sanidine and biotite phenocrysts and normal polarity. A 7-meter-thick volcaniclastic sandstone overlies the Huntoon Valley member, straddling a magnetic polarity reversal within the section. The 3 overlying members of THC are reversed-polarity, biotite-bearing, sanidine-free tuffs of variable degrees of welding. Their paleomagnetic directions are each statistically distinguishable from the others, indicating that the deposition of each tuff is separated by a significant amount of time and can be used as a geologically instantaneous measure of Earth’s magnetic field for purposes of averaging out secular variation. The capping Pliocene olivine basalt was emplaced over an erosional unconformity of significant relief, as evidenced by the complete absence at some locations of the uppermost biotite-bearing THC member. The tilt corrected mean paleomagnetic direction for the 4 members of THC indicate a clockwise rotation magnitude of 77.5°±40.3°. The absolute rotation results of this locality are statistically indistinguishable from the relative rotation results of this locality compared to Cowtrack Mountain (Lindeman et al. 2013). The corroboration of these data suggests that this region of the Mina Deflection has undergone large magnitude clockwise rotation since the emplacement of THC. However, the capping basalt exhibits a magnetic declination of due north, suggesting that this unit experienced little rotation and that rotational deformation in this region had mostly ended by the time of its emplacement at ~3.5 Ma.