The level of emplacement and final form of felsic and mafic igneous rocks of the Wichita Mountains Igneous Province, southwestern Oklahoma, U.S.A. Are discussed in light of magma driving pressure, lithostatic load, and crustal magma traps. Deposition of voluminous A-type rhyolites upon an eroded gabbroic substrate formed a subhorizontal strength anisotropy that acted as a crustal magma trap for subsequent rising felsic and mafic magma. Intruded along this crustal magma trap are the A-type sheet granites (length/thickness 100:1) of the Wichita Granite Group, of which the Mount Scott Granite sheet is typical, and smaller plutons of biotite bearing Roosevelt Gabbro. In marked contrast to the subhorizontal granite sheets, the gabbro plutons form more equant stocks with flat roofs and steep side walls. Late Diabase dikes cross-cut all other units, but accompanying basaltic flows are extremely rare in the volcanic pile. Based on magmastatic calculations, we draw the following conclusions concerning the level of emplacement and the shape of these intrusions. (1) Magma can rise to a depth at which the magma driving pressure becomes negligible. Magma that maintains a positive driving pressure at the surface has the potential to erupt. (2) Magma ascent may be arrested at a deeper level in the crust by a subhorizontal strength anisotropy (i.e. crustal magma trap) if the magma driving pressure is greater than or equal to the lithostatic load at the depth of the subhorizontal strength anisotropy. (3) Subhorizontal sheet-intrusions form along crustal magma traps when the magma driving pressure greatly exceeds the lithostatic load. under such conditions, the magma driving pressure is sufficent to lift the overburden to create the necessary space for the intrusion. (4) Thicker steep-sided stocks or batholiths, with flat roofs, form at crustal magma traps when the magma driving pressure approximates that of the lithostatic load. under these conditions, the necessary space for the intrusion must be created by other mechanisms (e.g. stoping). (5) Subvertical sheets (i.e. dikes) form when the magma driving pressure is less than the lithostatic load at the level of emplacement.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)
Geological Survey (U.S.)

Keywords and Phrases

Crustal Magma Traps; Lithostatic Load; Mafic Igneous Rock; Magma Driving Pressure

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1998 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 1998