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Mattapan Volcanic Complex

Mattapan Volcanic Complex - Rhyolite, melaphyre, agglomerate, and tuff. Mattapan Volcanic Complex is found in west and southwest part of Boston basin and beyond, and to the south in Blue Hills. Similar in lithology to Lynn Volcanic Complex. Both units consist largely of partly porphyritic rhyolite and rhyodacite flows, welded ash-flow tuffs, vitric tuff, lapilli tuff, lithic tuff, flow breccias, breccia pipes, and extrusion domes. Mattapan's rhyolite and rhyodacites are thinner and less varied in composition and texture than Lynn's, and volcanic breccias are absent in Lynn. Both units are reported to lie nonconformably on Dedham Granite and unnamed plutonic-volcanic complex of eastern MA; however, Mattapan has been observed as dikes and stocks cutting Dedham Granite (Billings, 1976; Kaye and Zartman, 1980; Chute, 1966), and other workers have pointed out evidence that some of Mattapan may be penecontemporaneous with younger phases of Dedham batholith. Westwood Granite may be intrusive equivalent of Mattapan. Mattapan is conformably and fairly continuously overlain by Roxbury Conglomerate of Boston Bay Group. LaForge (19832) cautioned against identifying rocks interbedded within Mattapan that look like Roxbury, but are still part of Mattapan. Metavolcanic rocks in Blue Hills resembling Mattapan are assigned to Mattapan on State bedrock map (Zen and others, 1983); for years they were considered to be either Silurian and Devonian, or Carboniferous; however, they are chemically and mineralogically distinct from Ordovician and Silurian Blue Hills [sic] Granite Porphyry. Author follows usage of Chute (1966) who could find no difference between volcanic rocks in Blue Hills area and Mattapan rocks, and thus these rocks are assigned to Mattapan. Proterozoic Z age is based on U-Th-Pb zircon date of 602 +/-3 Ma (Zartman, in Kaye and Zartman, 1980). Although Billings (1979) questions reliability of zircon ages from volcanic rocks, discovery of Proterozoic Z acritarchs in overlying Cambridge Argillite indicates zircon age is appropriate (Goldsmith, 1991).
NameMattapan Volcanic Complex
Geologic ageProterozoic Z or younger
Original map labelZm
CommentsPart of Milford-Dedham Zone (Tertiary and Older Rocks) Secondary unit description per MA023.
Primary rock typerhyolite
Secondary rock typemafic volcanic rock
Other rock typesvolcanic breccia (agglomerate); tuff
Lithologic constituents
Igneous > Volcanic > Felsic-volcanic > Rhyolite
Igneous > Volcanic > Mafic-volcanicmelaphyre
Igneous > Volcanic (Volcaniclastic, volcanic breccia)agglomerate
Igneous > Volcanic (Pyroclastic, tuff)
Map references
Unpublished Digital Geologic Map of Massachusetts received from Rudi Hon at Boston College in 1998.
Unit references
Zen, E-An (ed.), Goldsmith, R. (comp.), Ratcliffe, N.M. (comp.), Robinson, P. (comp.), Stanley, R.S. (comp.), Hatch, N.L., Jr., Shride, A.F., Weed, E.G.A., Wones, D.R., 1983, Bedrock Geologic Map of Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, scale 1: 250,000.
Goldsmith, Richard, 1991, Stratigraphy of the Milford-Dedham zone, eastern Massachusetts; an Avalonian terrane, Chapter E, IN Hatch, N.L., Jr., ed., The bedrock geology of Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1366-E-J, p. E1-E62.
CountiesMiddlesex - Norfolk - Suffolk - Worcester

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