Title

Contending Models for the Origin of the Yellowstone Hotspot

Date

6-1-2017 3:00 PM

End Time

1-6-2017 4:00 PM

Location

RWEC 201

Department

Earth Science

Session Chair

Jeffrey Templeton

Session Title

Earth Science Senior Seminar: Understanding the Tectonic Development and Framework of western North America

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Jeffrey Templeton

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

There is a long standing controversy regarding the relationship between Yellowstone volcanism and Basin and Range extension. It is not clear which of the two events should be considered the cause and which should be considered the effect. Various models have been formulated to support the opposing perspectives, two of which are widely recognized. Arrival of the Yellowstone mantle plume as the initiation of large-scale Basin and Range extension is the “mantle-plume model”. In contrast, the “plate model” suggests that extension related to the Basin and Range permitted melt to escape from the mantle and form the Yellowstone hotspot track. Evidence in support of the mantle-plume model includes seismic imagery data, the emplacement of the Nevada–Columbia Basin magmatic belt, and the orientation and magnitude of regional stress. The plate model is not contingent on seismology data but rather uses surface geological observations to support it. Supporters of the plate model suggest there are logical flaws with the plume model, such as the presence of underlying melt is not a sufficient enough condition to be a catalyst for the extension of the Basin and Range.

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Jun 1st, 3:00 PM Jun 1st, 4:00 PM

Contending Models for the Origin of the Yellowstone Hotspot

RWEC 201

There is a long standing controversy regarding the relationship between Yellowstone volcanism and Basin and Range extension. It is not clear which of the two events should be considered the cause and which should be considered the effect. Various models have been formulated to support the opposing perspectives, two of which are widely recognized. Arrival of the Yellowstone mantle plume as the initiation of large-scale Basin and Range extension is the “mantle-plume model”. In contrast, the “plate model” suggests that extension related to the Basin and Range permitted melt to escape from the mantle and form the Yellowstone hotspot track. Evidence in support of the mantle-plume model includes seismic imagery data, the emplacement of the Nevada–Columbia Basin magmatic belt, and the orientation and magnitude of regional stress. The plate model is not contingent on seismology data but rather uses surface geological observations to support it. Supporters of the plate model suggest there are logical flaws with the plume model, such as the presence of underlying melt is not a sufficient enough condition to be a catalyst for the extension of the Basin and Range.