The Roza Member, Columbia River Basalt Group: A gigantic pahoehoe lava flow field formed by endogenous processes?
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012)
Volume 103, Issue B11, pages 27411–27445, 10 November 1998
How to Cite
1998), The Roza Member, Columbia River Basalt Group: A gigantic pahoehoe lava flow field formed by endogenous processes?, J. Geophys. Res., 103(B11), 27411–27445, doi:10.1029/98JB01355., and (
- Issue published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 MAR 1998
- Manuscript Received: 3 JUN 1997
We present studies on the physical volcanology of the ∼15 Ma Roza Member of the Wanapum Formation in the Columbia River Basalt Group. The Roza Member represents a compound pahoehoe flood basalt lava flow field, with an area of ∼40,300 km2 and a volume of ∼1300 km3. It consists of 4 major lava flows each composed of numerous, decimeter to kilometer long pahoehoe lobes. Roza lavas feature a wide range of pahoehoe surface structures, such as lava rise plateaus, tumuli, and surface breakouts, and we illustrate that the lava morphology is inconsistent with previous proposals of rapid emplacement for these lavas. An integral component of the Roza flow field is the sheet lobe with internal structures identical to those of inflated pahoehoe sheet lobes from Hawaii and Iceland, both at the same scale and at much larger scales. We identify a three-part division of the sheet lobes into basal crust, lava core, and lava crust, which are interpreted as the equivalent to the bottom crust, the liquid lava core, and the surface crust of an active inflating pahoehoe lobe. The upper lava crust grows continuously during lava emplacement and its growth rate can be approximated by conductive cooling. This relationship is used to calculate the emplacement time for individual Roza sheet lobes and to derive a first-order estimate on the duration of the Roza eruption. The results indicate that the emplacement of individual Roza lobes lasted for months to years and that the lava flow field was constructed over a period of at least 14 years. We propose that the Roza flows achieved great areal dimensions and thicknesses by inflation and endogenous growth. As the lava flowed from vent to flow front it traveled under an insulating crust which maintained cooling rates of <0.1 °C/km and allowed for efficient transport of lava over distances up to 300 km.