Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Committee Member

Eugene I. Smith

Number of Pages



The Northern Lunar Crater Volcanic Field (NLCVF) is located along the axis of the Great Basin in Nye County, Nevada. This area of Pliocene to Recent cinder cones, maars and alkali basalt lava flows represents the northern terminus of the Death Valley-Pancake Range Basalt Zone. Basalts from this area can be divided into two distinct groups, those of trace element enrichment relative to Ocean Island Basalt, and those of trace element depletion relative to Ocean Island Basalt, with each group containing a range of compositions. The NLCVF represents a simple volcanic area, with basalts formed by differing degrees of partial melting, independent of one another with no evidence for crustal contamination or commingling. A mantle melting column for the area indicates a deep (176 to 130 km) asthenospheric mantle source with temperatures 200°C hotter than average. This might be attributed to a mantle melting anomaly, such as a mantle roll. The deep, hot asthenospheric source coupled with the short melting column, a mantle melting anomaly, and a thicker lithosphere all contribute to the unique location of the NLCVF, and explain why this young volcanic field is small in volume. Future eruptions can be expected in the next 38--56 ka in the vicinity of Black Rock or the Northern Black Rock Cluster Cones area. Disruption of U.S. Highway 6, and the transportation of medium-level nuclear waste to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository would occur in the event of a future eruption.


County; Crater; Field; Lunar; Nevada; Northern; Nye; Petrogenesis; Volcanic; Volcanology

Controlled Subject


File Format


File Size

4997.12 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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