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Cylindrical jointing in mafic dikes, central Beartooth Mountains, Montana

December 28, 2008

Cylindrical joints are well displayed in two Precambrian mafic dikes that cut granitic gneiss in the central Beartooth Mountains, Mont. The dikes are vertical and about 23 m (75 ft) and 23 to 46 m (75-150 ft) thick, respectively. The cylindrical joints are perpendicular to the dike walls, and the cylinders defined by the joints are as much as 5 m (16 ft) in diameter. No petrographic, textural, or other features related to or possibly responsible for the joints are recognized. The dikes are chemically and petrographically similar to quartz dolerite dikes found throughout the Beartooth Mountains. Some of these dikes show typical polygonal columnar joints; a few others have cylindrical jointing, but in most dikes neither kind of jointing was observed. The orientation of the cylindrical joints normal to the walls of the dikes indicates that they probably formed by thermal contraction during post-crystallization cooling of the dikes and are thus genetically related to the much more common polygonal jointing. However, the model proposed to explain the cylindrical joints suggests that their origin is partly dependent on the geometric relation between the orientation of the dikes and that of the predike fracture pattern in the host rock.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1975
Title Cylindrical jointing in mafic dikes, central Beartooth Mountains, Montana
Authors Theodore J. Armbrustmacher, Frank S. Simons
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Index ID 70164430
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse