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The Salton Buttes consist of five small rhyolitic lava domes extruded onto Quaternary sediments of the Colorado River delta within the Salton Sea geothermal field at the SE margin of the Salton Sea. The summit of The age of the Salton Buttes has variously been considered to be late Pleistocene or early Holocene based on different dating techniques. Recent dating of young zircons (which typically crystallize prior to eruption) at 10,300 +/- 1000 years Before Present (BP) is consistent with early Holocene hydration rind dates from Obsidian Butte. Wave-cut benches originating from Lake Cahuilla, which existed from about 20,500 to 3000 BP prior to the 20th century formation of the Salton Sea due to an accidental spill-over of the Colorado River, are found on all of the domes. Older, sediment-buried Pleistocene rhyolitic lava domes have been found in geothermal drill holes. The Salton Sea geothermal field produces saline geothermal brines.
Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).
|Start Date||Stop Date||Eruption Certainty||VEI||Evidence||Activity Area or Unit|
|6450 BCE (?)||Unknown||Confirmed||Hydration Rind||Obsidian Butte|
This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.
|Feature Name||Feature Type||Elevation||Latitude||Longitude|
|Obsidian Butte on the SE shore of the Salton Sea is seen in an aerial view from the NW. Obsidian Butte is one of five small rhyolitic lava domes extruded onto Quaternary sediments of the Colorado River delta; the summit of the dome lies 40 m below sea level. Two domes, Mullet Island and Red Island (not visible in this view), form small islands just offshore to the NE of Obsidian Butte. A steam plume rises from the Salton Sea geothermal field behind the dome.
Photo by Bruce Perry, 2005 (California State University Long Beach).
The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.
Friedman I, Obradovich J, 1981. Obsidian hydration dating of volcanic events. Quat Res, 16: 37-47.
IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..
Luedke R G, Smith R L, 1981. Map showing distribution, composition, and age of late Cenozoic volcanic centers in California and Nevada. U S Geol Surv Map, I-1091-C.
Miller C D, 1989. Potential hazards from future volcanic eruptions in California. U S Geol Surv Bull, 1847: 1-17.
Robinson P T, Elders W A, Muffler L J P, 1976. Quaternary volcanism in the Salton Sea geothermal field, Imperial Valley, California. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 87: 347-360.
Schmitt A K, Hulen J B, 2008. Buried rhyolites within the active, high-temperature Salton Sea geothermal system. J Volc Geotherm Res, 178: 708-718.
Schmitt A K, Vazquez J A, 2006. Alteration and remelting of nascent oceanic crust during continental rupture: evidence from zircon geochemistry of rhyolites and xenoliths from the Salton Trough, California. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 252: 260-274.
Smith R L, Shaw H R, Luedke R G, Russell S L, 1978. Comprehensive tables giving physical data and thermal energy estimates for young igneous systems of the United States. U S Geol Surv Open-File Rpt, 78-925: 1-25.
Wood C A, Kienle J (eds), 1990. Volcanoes of North America. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Univ Press, 354 p.