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The magmatic origin of the Columbia River Gorge, USA

December 20, 2023
Along subduction zones, high-relief topography is associated with sustained volcanism parallel to the plate margin. However, the relationship between magmatism and mountain building in arcs is poorly understood. Here, we study patterns of surface deformation and correlated fluvial knickpoints in the Columbia River Gorge to link long-term magmatism to the uplift and ensuing topographic development of the Cascade Range. An upwarped paleochannel exposed in the walls of the Gorge constrains unsteady deep magma flux, the ratio of intrusive to extrusive magmatic contributions to topography, and the impact of magmatism on Columbia River incision since 3.5 million years ago. Geophysical data indicate that deep magma influx beneath the arc axis is ongoing and not aligned with the current locations of volcanic edifices, representing a broad regional influence on arc construction.
Publication Year 2024
Title The magmatic origin of the Columbia River Gorge, USA
DOI 10.1126/sciadv.adj3357
Authors Nathaniel Klema, Leif Karlstrom, Charles M. Cannon, Chengxin Jiang, Jim E. O'Connor, Ray Wells, Brandon Schmandt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science Advances
Index ID 70250901
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center