Markagunt Plateau Volcanic Field


The Markagunt Plateau volcanic field, located in southwestern Utah, east of Cedar City, is part of a belt of Pleistocene-Holocene volcanic fields that extends from the northern Grand Canyon in Arizona to central Utah near Fillmore.

This 3,000 km2 (1,160 mi2) volcanic field is within the eastern Utah Transition Zone or High Plateaus Province, a zone of tectonic extension between the Basin and Range Province to the west and the Colorado Plateau to the east. The primarily basaltic eruptions from the Markagunt Plateau were active from 5.3 Ma to less than 10 ka and occurred as 40-50 cinder cones and flows as one-off (monogenetic) events. The volcanic field formed in three eruptive episodes: 5.3 – 2.8 Ma, 1 – 0.5 Ma, and less than 0.5 Ma – less than 37 ka. The oldest eruptions formed near the town of Panguitch, Utah, at 5.3 to 5 Ma and are composed of entirely basaltic cinder cones and flows. The youngest group of eruptions includes the relatively unvegetated Dry Valley and Panguitch Lake flows that were probably erupted in Holocene time. These flows form large blocky flow fronts that range from 30 – 60 m (100 – 200 ft) high.

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