Rhyolites and Associated Deposits of the Valles-Toledo Caldera Complex

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Journal Article: Rhyolites and Associated Deposits of the Valles-Toledo Caldera Complex

Several decades of focused studies on the Valles-Toledo caldera complex and the Jemez Mountains in northern New Mexico have brought about new understanding of the relations of stratigraphic units that record the complex�s evolution. We present here a revision of the formal stratigraphic nomenclature for the Quaternary Tewa Group, an established stratigraphic unit that includes the volcanic and volcaniclastic deposits of the caldera complex. We propose 11 completely new units of member rank, with descriptions of lithology, contact relations, distribution, and type areas. These new members are parts of the Bandelier Tuff, Cerro Toledo, and Valles Rhyolite Formations, and serve to depict the magmatic and geomorphic evolution of the area during and following each of two major caldera-forming episodes. With results from mapping efforts in the Jemez Mountains revealing the broad implications and interrelations of some established units, we redefine one formation (Cerro Toledo Rhyolite) and demote three formal members (El Cajete, Battleship Rock, and Banco Bonito) to bed or flow rank. Because it has been shown repeatedly in published works that one formation (Cerro Rubio Quartz Latite) was originally defined based on erroneous relations, we propose its formal abandonment. Additionally, we propose formal abandonment of one established member (Valle Grande Member of the Valles Rhyolite) because of lack of utility and widespread disuse. Our proposed revisions embody the practices of geologic mappers, and serve to better clarify relations of volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks through the evolution of the Valles-Toledo caldera complex. The new formal stratigraphy that we propose will provide a flexible but robust framework for on-going and future research in the Valles-Toledo caldera complex.

Jamie N. Gardner

Published Journal 
New Mexico Geology, 2010

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Internet link for Rhyolites and Associated Deposits of the Valles-Toledo Caldera Complex

Jamie N. Gardner. 2010. Rhyolites and Associated Deposits of the Valles-Toledo Caldera Complex. New Mexico Geology. 32(1):3-18.

Related Geothermal Exploration Activities
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Areas (2)
  1. Valles Caldera - Redondo Geothermal Area

  2. Valles Caldera - Sulphur Springs Geothermal Area
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