Stratigraphy, correlation, depositional setting, and geophysical characteristics of the Oligocene Snowshoe Mountain Tuff and Creede Formation in two cored boreholes


Core descriptions and geophysical logs from two boreholes (CCM-1 and CCM-2) in the Oligocene Snowshoe Mountain Tuff and Creede Formation, south-central Colorado, are used to interpret sedimentary and volcanic facies associations and their physical properties. The seven facies associations include a mixed sequence of intracaldera ash-flow tuffs and breccias, alluvial and lake margin deposits, and tuffaceous lake beds. These deposits represent volcanic units related to caldera collapse and emplacement of the Snowshoe Mountain Tuff, and sediments and pyroclastic material deposited in the newly formed caldera basin. Early sedimentation is interpreted to have been rapid, and to have occurred in volcaniclastic fan environments at CCM-1 and in a variety of volcaniclastic fan, braided stream, shallow lacustrine, and mudflat environments at CCM-2. After an initial period of lake-level rise, suspension settling, turbidite, and debris-flow sedimentation occurred in lacustrine slope and basin environments below wave base. Carbonate sedimentation was initially sporadic, but more continuous in the latter part of the recorded lake history (after the H fallout tuff). Sublacustrine- fan deposition occurred at CCM-1 after a pronounced lake-level fall and subsequent rise that preceded the H tuff. Variations in density, neutron, gamma-ray, sonic, and electrical properties of deposits penetrated in the two holes reflect variations in lithology, porosity, and alteration. Trends in the geophysical properties of the lacustrine strata are linked to downhole changes in authigenic mineralogy and a decrease in porosity interpreted to have resulted primarily from diagenesis. Lithological and geophysical characteristics provide a basis for correlation of the cores; however, mineralogical methods of correlation are hampered by the degree of diagenesis and alteration.

Publication Title

Special Paper of the Geological Society of America