Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 70, Issue 7, pp 861–875

A model for radial dike emplacement in composite cones based on observations from Summer Coon volcano, Colorado, USA

  • Michael P. Poland
  • William P. Moats
  • Jonathan H. Fink
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00445-007-0175-9

Cite this article as:
Poland, M.P., Moats, W.P. & Fink, J.H. Bull Volcanol (2008) 70: 861. doi:10.1007/s00445-007-0175-9


We mapped the geometry of 13 silicic dikes at Summer Coon, an eroded Oligocene stratovolcano in southern Colorado, to investigate various characteristics of radial dike emplacement in composite volcanoes. Exposed dikes are up to about 7 km in length and have numerous offset segments along their upper peripheries. Surprisingly, most dikes at Summer Coon increase in thickness with distance from the center of the volcano. Magma pressure in a dike is expected to lessen away from the pressurized source region, which would encourage a blade-like dike to decrease in thickness with distance from the center of the volcano. We attribute the observed thickness pattern as evidence of a driving pressure gradient, which is caused by decreasing host rock shear modulus and horizontal stress, both due to decreasing emplacement depths beneath the sloping flanks of the volcano. Based on data from Summer Coon, we propose that radial dikes originate at depth below the summit of a host volcano and follow steeply inclined paths towards the surface. Near the interface between volcanic cone and basement, which may represent a neutral buoyancy surface or stress barrier, magma is transported subhorizontally and radially away from the center of the volcano in blade-like dikes. The dikes thicken with increasing radial distance, and offset segments and fingers form along the upper peripheries of the intrusions. Eruptions may occur anywhere along the length of the dikes, but the erupted volume will generally be greater for dike-fed eruptions far from the center of the host volcano owing to the increase in driving pressure with distance from the source. Observed eruptive volumes, vent locations, and vent-area intrusions from inferred post-glacial dike-fed eruptions at Mount Adams, Washington, USA, support the proposed model. Hazards associated with radial dike emplacement are therefore greater for longer dikes that propagate to the outer flanks of a volcano.


Radial dike swarm Intrusion Composite volcano Driving pressure Colorado Volcanic hazards Summer Coon 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael P. Poland
    • 1
  • William P. Moats
    • 2
  • Jonathan H. Fink
    • 3
  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano ObservatoryHawaii National ParkUSA
  2. 2.Hazardous Waste Bureau, New Mexico Environment Department District 1AlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.School of Earth and Space ExplorationArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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