News Release

New articles for Geosphere posted early online

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colo., USA: GSA’s dynamic online journal, Geosphere, posts articles online regularly. Topics this month include an analysis of geoscience job applications; Uturuncu volcano, Bolivia; Picture Gorge Basalt; and the Red Bluff Granite Suite. You can find these articles at .

Critical workforce skills for bachelor-level geoscientists: An analysis of geoscience job advertisements
G.W. Shafer; K. Viskupic; A.E. Egger
Understanding the skills bachelor-level geoscientists need to enter the workforce is critical to their success. The goal of this study was to identify the workforce skills that are most requested from a broad range of geoscience employers. We collected 3668 job advertisements for bachelor-level geoscientists and used a case-insensitive, code-matching function in Matlab to determine the skills geoscience employers seek. Written communication (67%), field skills (63%), planning (53%), and driving (51%) were most frequently requested. Field skills and data collection were frequently found together in the ads. Written communication skills were common regardless of occupation. Quantitative skills were requested less frequently (23%) but were usually mentioned several times in the ads that did request them, signaling their importance for certain jobs. Some geoscience-specific skills were rarely found, such as temporal understanding (5%) and systems thinking (0%). We also subdivided field skills into individual tasks and ranked them by employer demand. Site assessments and evaluations, unspecified field tasks, and monitoring were the most frequently requested field skills. This study presents the geoscience community with a picture of the skills sought by employers of bachelor-level geoscientists and provides departments and programs with data they can use to assess their curricula for workforce preparation.

Picture Gorge Basalt: Internal stratigraphy, eruptive patterns, and its importance for understanding Columbia River Basalt Group magmatism
Emily B. Cahoon; Martin J. Streck; Anthony A.P. Koppers
The Picture Gorge Basalt (PGB) of the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) has been previously thought to be limited in its eruptive volume (<3000 km3) and thought to not extend far from its type locality. At present, PGB represents only 1.1 vol% of the CRBG with a relatively limited spatial distribution of ~10,000 km2. New age data illustrate that the PGB is the earliest and longest eruptive unit compared to other main-phase CRBG formations and that some dated basaltic flows reach far (~100 km) beyond the previously mapped extent. This study focuses on extensive outcrops of basaltic lavas and dikes south of the type locality at Picture Gorge, in order to reassess the spatial distribution and eruptive volume of the PGB. Field observations coupled with geochemical data indicate that PGB lava flows and mafic dikes covered a significantly greater area than shown on the published geologic maps. We find that additional mafic dikes located farther south of the original mapped distribution have geochemical compositions and northwest-trending orientations comparable to the dikes of the Monument dike swarm. We also identify new lava flows that can be correlated where stratigraphic control is well defined toward the original mapped PGB distribution. Our analyses and correlations are facilitated by comparison of 20 major- and trace-element abundances via a principal component analysis. This statistical comparison provides a new detailed distribution of PGB with stratigraphic significance that more than doubles the total distribution of PGB lavas and dikes and brings the eruptive volume to a new minimum of at least ~4200 km3. Geochemically correlated basaltic lavas and dikes in the extended distribution of PGB represent the earlier and later sections of the internal PGB stratigraphy. This is an intriguing observation as new geochronological data suggest an eruptive hiatus of ~400 k.y. during PGB volcanic activity, which occurred from 17.23 Ma to 15.76 Ma. The geochemical identifiers used to differentiate PGB from other main-phase CRBG formations include lower TiO2 (<2 wt%) concentrations, lower incompatible trace-element (i.e., La, Th, and Y) abundances, and a more pronounced enrichment in large-ion-lithophile elements (LILEs) on a primitive mantle–normalized trace-element diagram (Sun and McDonough, 1989). Geochemical characteristics of PGB are interpreted to represent a magmatic source component distinct from the other main-phase CRBG units, possibly a localized backarc-sourced mantle melt. However, this source cannot be spatially restricted as there are observed PGB lava flows and dikes extending as far east as Lake Owyhee and as far south as Hart Mountain, covering at least 15,000 km2. In context with the existing stratigraphy and the new extent of PGB lavas and dikes, these ages and coupled geochemical signatures demonstrate this mantle component was not spatially localized but rather tapped across a wide region.

Multiple spatial and temporal scales of deformation from geodetic monitoring point to active transcrustal magma system at Uturuncu volcano, Bolivia
Elizabeth Eiden; Patricia MacQueen; Scott Henderson; Matthew Pritchard
Uturuncu volcano in southern Bolivia last erupted around 250 ka but is exhibiting signs of recent activity, including over 50 yr of surface uplift, elevated seismic activity, and fumarolic activity. We studied the spatial and temporal scales of surface deformation from 1992 to 2021 to better understand subsurface activity. We tracked Uturuncu’s recent deformation using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data and the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) station UTUR, located near Uturuncu’s summit. We observed a spatially coherent signal of uplift from 2014 to 2021 from Sentinel-1 A/B satellites that indicates the Altiplano-Puna magma body, located 19–24 km below ground level, and previously noted as the source of the large region of deformation, is still active. The ground is now uplifting at a rate of ~3 mm/yr compared to prior rates of ~10 mm/yr. We corroborated this waning uplift with in situ data from station UTUR. We combined the Sentinel-1 data with TerraSAR-X interferograms to constrain an ~25 km2 region of subsidence located 11 km SSW of Uturuncu, with a source depth of 2.1 km below ground level to an active period of ~2.5 yr with ~5 mm/yr subsidence. We developed a conceptual model that relates these varying depths and time scales of activity in a transcrustal magmatic system. We associate the surface uplift with pressurization from ascending gases and brines from magmatic reservoirs in the midcrust. We infer the existence of brine lenses in the shallow hydrothermal system based on low subsurface resistivity correlated with surface subsidence.

Tectonomagmatic evolution of southwestern Laurentia: Insights from zircon U-Pb geochronology and hafnium isotopic composition of the Red Bluff Granite Suite, west Texas, USA
Munazzam Ali Mahar; Philip C. Goodell; Jason W. Ricketts; Eric J. Kappus; James L. Crowley ...
We provide laser ablation–multicollector–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS) and high-precision chemical abrasion–isotope dilution–thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) U-Pb ages and Hf isotopic compositions of zircons from the Red Bluff Granite Suite and mafic dikes in the Franklin Mountains of El Paso, Texas, USA. Granitoids exposed in the Franklin Mountains were previously divided into five magmatic stages based on cross-cutting relationships. Major and trace element compositions showed that these granitoids are ferroan, alkaline, and A2 type. Homogeneity in the whole-rock geochemistry suggests that the granite stages are genetically related and share similar petrogenetic histories. Weighted mean zircon 206Pb/238U dates from the older magmatic stage 1 alkali-feldspar quartz syenite and stage 2 alkali-feldspar granite are 1112.36 ± 0.35 and 1112.46 ± 0.37 Ma, respectively. The weighted mean εHf(t) values varying from +5.3 to +7.2 are similar to those of other regional ca. 1.1 Ga magmatic rocks throughout south- western Laurentia. Geochemical characteristics, petrological modeling, and enriched Hf isotopic composition suggest fractional crystallization of a basaltic magma that was produced by melting of an enriched mantle reservoir. However, zircon inheritance ages of ca. 1.3 Ga and 1.26–1.15 Ga are consistent with a minor contribution from felsic crustal basement. Our data and regional geology are consistent with a post-collisional slab break-off that facilitated asthenospheric upwelling and partial melting of the enriched mantle, possibly subcontinental lithospheric mantle, extending from Llano Uplift, Texas, in the southeast to California to the northwest. Magma thus generated upon differentiation produced ferroan and A-type granitoids.

GEOSPHERE articles are available at . Representatives of the media may obtain complimentary copies of GEOSPHERE articles by contacting Kea Giles at the address above. Please discuss articles of interest with the authors before publishing stories on their work, and please refer to GEOSPHERE in articles published. Non-media requests for articles may be directed to GSA Sales and Service,

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