A positive, northeast-trending gravity anomaly, 90 km long and 30 km wide, extends southwest from the Zuni uplift, New Mexico. A shallow mafic intrusion, possibly emplaced sometime before Laramide deformation, is proposed to account for the positive gravity anomaly. The Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, an alignment of 74 basaltic vents, is parallel to the eastern edge of the anomaly. Lavas display a bimodal distribution of tholeiitic and alkalic compositions and were erupted over a period from 4 m.y. B.P. to present. A residual gravity profile taken perpendicular to the major axis of the anomaly was analyzed using linear programming and ideal body theory to obtain bounds on the density contrast, depth, and minimum thickness of the gravity body. Two-dimensionality was assumed. The limiting case where the anomalous body reaches the surface gives 0.1 g/cm3 as the greatest lower bound on the maximum density contrast. If 0.4 g/cm3 is taken as the geologically reasonable upper limit on the maximum density contrast, the least upper bound on the depth of burial is 3.5 km, and minimum thickness is 2 km. Analysis of a magnetotelluric survey suggests that the intrusion is not due to recent basaltic magma associated with the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field. The intrusive structure has controlled the development of the volcanic field; vent orientations have changed somewhat through time, but the trend of the volcanic chain followed the edge of the intrusive structure. The intrusion has also exhibited some control on deformation of the sedimentary section.
- Geological Society of America