Offset caldera and crater collapse on Juan de Fuca ridge-flank volcanoes
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Forty-three volcanoes located along the flanks of the Juan de Fuca Ridge were selected to study relationships between their morphologies and off-axis magmatic processes. The volcanoes occur both in chains consisting of up to seven distinct cones and isolated edifices. Nearly all of the volcanoes are circular, truncated cones with steep flanks and large, relatively flat summit plateaus. In addition, most of these volcanoes also have prominent and distinctly offset calderas or craters. The most striking characteristic of the volcanoes' morphology is that nearly all of their collapse structures are located on the sides of the volcanoes which face the Juan de Fuca Ridge and many are breached with openings toward the ridge. A simple model based on these observations accounts for these ridge-facing features. As plate motion transports a volcano away from its magma source beneath the lithosphere, the volcano's magma supply conduits tend to lag behind. Eventually these conduits are abandoned and ridgeward collapse structures are formed. It can be inferred from the model that, on average, individual volcanoes were active for approximately 50 000 years and that most eruptions took place early in this interval. If most of the cone-building eruptions occurred during the first thousand years or so, associated hydrothermal activity may have temporarily rivaled the present-day yearly time-averaged hydrothermal output along the entire Juan de Fuca ridge axis.
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