This study focuses on acquiring an age estimate for the Ice Springs Volcanic Field located in Millard County, Utah. The Ice Springs Volcanic Field is part of the Black Rock Desert and is home to four cinder cones: Crescent, Miter, Pocket, and Terrace, each of which erupted lava flows over time. The lava emplacement history of Ice Springs has been debated since Hoover (1974) first proposed his theory of emplacement. A key piece of information that could aid in finalizing an emplacement history is an age estimate for Ice Springs. Only one official age for Ice Springs has been documented by Valastro et al. (1972), who used radiocarbon dating to analyze a piece of root fragment found from underneath a lava flow, and found an age of 660 +/- 170 years. To confirm this age estimate, this study uses three different dating techniques suitable for young basalt: cosmogenic nuclide dating, varnish microlamination (VML) dating, and vegetation surveys. In total five cosmogenic samples, nine VML samples, and twenty-one vegetation quadrant data were collected in the field. The vegetation quadrant data show little correlation and are not considered a reliable method to date young basalt in arid environments. Results from VML dating give an age estimate of 6,000 to 6,500 years and the results from cosmogenic nuclide dating give an age estimate of approximately 8,000 years. This study is the first to age date Ice Springs Volcanic Field by these methods; these ages are older than what was anticipated, suggesting that an age less than 1,000 years is too young for Ice Springs.


Pollock, Meagen




Geochemistry | Geology | Volcanology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Krysden A. Schantz