Hydrothermal Brecciation In The Jemez Fault Zone, Valles Caldera, New Mexico:Results From Continental Scientific Drilling Program Core Hole Vc-I

An Unusual Breccia Sequence Penetrated In The Lower 30 M Of Continental Scientific Drilling Program Core Hole Vc-1 (Total Depth 856 M) Records A Complex Hydrothermal History Culminating In Hydraulic Rock Rupture And Associated Alteration At The Edge Of The Quaternary Valles Caldera. The Breccias, Both Tectonic And Hydrothermal In Origin, Were Formed In The Jemez Fault Zone, Near The Intersection Of This Major Regional Structure With The Calderas Ring-Fracture Margin. Tectonic Breccias In The Sequence Are Contorted, Crushed, And Sheared. Coexisting Hydrothermal Breccias Lack Such Frictional Textures But Display Matrix Flow Foliation And Prominent Clast Rounding, Features Characteristic Of Fluidization. These Hydrothermal Breccias Were Intensely Altered, During At Least Five Major Stages, To Quartz-Illite-Phengitepyrite Aggregates ; Traces Of Molybdenite Occur Locally. This Assemblage Indicates Interaction With Hydrothermal Fluid At Temperatures In Excess Of 200 Degrees C. The Extrapolated Present Maximum Temperature Of 184 Degrees C In The Breccia Zone Therefore Represents Considerable Cooling Since These Phases Were Formed. Fluid Inclusions In The Breccias Also Preserve Evidence Of The Prior Passage Of Hotter Fluids. The Inclusions Are Principally Two Phase, Liquid Rich, Secondary In Origin, And Concentrated In Hydrothermal Quartz. Older, High-Salinity Inclusions, Unrelated To Brecciation, Homogenize In The Temperature Range 189 Degrees -246 Degrees C. Younger Inclusions, In Part Of Interbreccia Origin, Are Low-Salinity And Homogenize In The Temperature Range 230 Degrees - 283 Degrees C; Locally Coexisting Iiquid- And Vapor-Rich Inclusions Document Periodic Boiling Of The Dilute Fluids. These Fluid-Inclusion Data, Along With The Probable Age Of The Hydrothermal Breccias ( < 1.5 Ma), The Assumed Depth At Which They Developed (About 515 M), And The Contemporaneous State Of Stress (Extensional) Can Be Combined To Model Hydrothermal Brecciation At The Vc-1 Site. The Minimum Fluid Pressure (Pfr,) Required To Hydrofracture These Rocks Was Probably About 7.5 Mpa (0.0146 Mpa/M). A Boiling Point Versus Depth Curve Based On These Pfr, Values Graphically Defines The Physical Conditions Prevailing When The Breccias Were Formed. When Fluid Pressure At The Assumed Depth Of Brecciation Exceeded That Curve, In Response To Rapid Release Of Confining Pressure Possibly Augmented By Renewed Heating, Flashing Hydrothermal Fluid Fractured The Enclosing Rock. Large Overpressures, Most Likely Induced By Sudden Seismic Cracking Of A Hydrothermally Sealed Portion Of The Jemez Fault Zone, Led To Local Fluidization Of The Resulting Breccias. Late Quartz Veining, Hydrothermal Alteration, And Molybdenite Mineralization Were Probably Produced By The Fluids Responsible For Brecciation. Egi Reference Number Gl04524

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