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Evolution of Volcaniclastic Apron During Initiation of Cascade Volcanism in Southern Oregon

Erick A. Bestland

The Oligocene Colestin Formation consists of a volcaniclastic apron sequence that records the initiation of Cascade volcanism in the western Cascade Range of southern Oregon. The formation in the type area is largely confined to an east-west-trending graben approximately 8 km wide. This graben and other smaller grabens within it developed to the west of and perpendicular to the axis of the Oligocene Cascade arc. The apron, which fills and locally overflows the graben, consists of coalesced lobes of volcaniclastic and pyroclastic deposits and lesser amounts of lava flows. Abrupt lateral facies changes on a scale of tens to hundreds of meters were produced by the lobe style of deposition and contemporaneous basin faulting. Interstratified with the discontinuous apron sedime ts are marker units that consist of pyroclastic flows, paleosols, and lava-flow sequences. In the upper half of the formation, the apron can be subdivided into informal members (lobes and sequences of lobes), which can be mapped according to their composition and stratigraphic position. Each member formed during a distinct interval of volcanism. An epiclastic lobe in the upper part of the formation, containing debris-flow and hyperconcentrated flood-flow deposits, represents a period of effusive or mildly explosive andesitic and basaltic volcanism. This epiclastic lobe pinches out to the south under a member that consists of tuffaceous sandstones and interbedded welded and nonwelded pyroclastic flows. The pulselike style of apron growth was produced by the episodic shifting of volcanism long the arc.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.