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Eruptive history within the vicinity of Al Madīnah in northern Harrat Rahat, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

December 29, 2023

The northernmost part of the Harrat Rahat volcanic field contains early Pleistocene to Holocene mafic eruptive products within the vicinity of the city of Al Madīnah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A detailed geologic investigation into the eruptive history of a 570 square kilometer (km2) area covering Al Madīnah and the surrounding area has yielded 33 mapped Quaternary volcanic units consisting of lava flows, scoria cones, and shield volcanoes. These eruptive products consist of continental, intraplate alkalic and minor transitional basalts, hawaiites, and a single mugearite that were emplaced from at least 1,014±14 thousand years ago (ka) to a single Holocene eruption in 1256 C.E. Lava flows are generally 10 to 15 kilometers (km) long (but can reach 23 km long), 1 to 3 km wide, and at least 10 meters thick. Most of the mapped units erupted episodically between 400 and 340 ka and 180 and 100 ka. Despite small individual volumes (less than 1 cubic kilometers dense rock equivalent), each unit represents eruption of a distinct magma batch that was strongly influenced by clinopyroxene, olivine, and plagioclase fractionation. Some of these units are interpreted to have undergone magma mixing pre- and (or) syneruptively. Integrating eruption ages, geochemistry, and paleomagnetic data yields evidence that some eruptions were temporally and (or) spatially clustered. Aligned scoria cones and elongate vent edifices were constructed atop fissure vent systems that reflect the local stress field, which controls dike ascent through the middle and upper crust.

Publication Year 2023
Title Eruptive history within the vicinity of Al Madīnah in northern Harrat Rahat, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
DOI 10.3133/pp1862C
Authors Drew T. Downs, Mark E. Stelten, Duane E. Champion, Hannah R. Dietterich, Khalid Hassan, Jamal Shawali
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1862
Index ID pp1862C
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center