Bulletin of Volcanology

, 63:191 | Cite as

Formation of caldera periphery faults: an experimental study

  • Thomas R. WalterEmail author
  • Valentin R. Troll
Research Article


Changing stresses in multi-stage caldera volcanoes were simulated in scaled analogue experiments aiming to reconstruct the mechanism(s) associated with caldera formation and the corresponding zones of structural weakness. We evaluate characteristic structures resulting from doming (chamber inflation), evacuation collapse (chamber deflation) and cyclic resurgence (inflation and deflation), and we analyse the consequential fault patterns and their statistical relationship to morphology and geometry. Doming results in radial fractures and subordinate concentric reverse faults which propagate divergently from the chamber upwards with increasing dilation. The structural dome so produced is characterised bysteepening in the periphery, whereas the broadening apex subsides. Pure evacuation causes the chamber roof to collapse along adjacent bell-shaped reverse faults. The distribution of concentric faults is influenced by the initial edifice morphology; steep and irregular initial flanks result in a tilted or chaotic caldera floor. The third set of experiments focused on the structural interaction of cyclic inflation and subsequent moderate deflation. Following doming, caldera subsidence produces concentric faults that characteristically crosscut radial cracks of the dome. The flanks of the edifice relax, resulting in discontinuous circumferential faults that outline a structural network of radial and concentric faults; the latter form locally uplifted and tiltedwedges (half-grabens) that grade into horst-and-graben structures. This superimposed fault pattern also extends inside the caldera. We suggest that major pressure deviations in magma chamber(s) are reflected in the fault arrangement dissecting the volcanoflanks and may be used as a first-order indication of the processes and mechanisms involved in caldera formation.


Multi-stage caldera volcanoes Caldera periphery faults Volcano fractures Flank instability 


  1. Anderson EM (1937) Cone sheets and ring dykes; the dynamical explanation. Bull Volcanol 1:35–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aramaki S (1984) Formation of the Aira caldera, southern Kyushu, ∼22,000 years ago. J Geophys Res 89:8485–8501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Branney MJ (1995) Downsag and extension at calderas. New perspectives on collapse geometries from ice-melt, mining, and volcanic subsidence. Bull Volcanol 57:303–318Google Scholar
  4. Branney MJ, Kokelaar P (1994) Rheomorphism and soft-state deformation of tuffs induced by volcanotectonic faulting at a piecemeal caldera, English Lake District. Bull Geol Soc Am 106:507–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Byerlee J (1978) Friction of rocks. Pure Appi Geophvs 116:615–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chadwick WW, Dieterich JH (1995) Mechanical modeling of circumferential and radial dyke intrusion on Galapagos volcanoes. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 66:37–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cobbold PR, Castro L (1999) Fluid pressure and effective stress in sandbox models. Tectonophysics 301:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Druitt TH, Sparks RSJ (1984) On the formation of calderas during ignimbrite eruptions. Nature 310:679–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emeleus CH (1997) Geology of Rum and the adjacent islands. Mem British Geol Surv Scotland, Sheet 60Google Scholar
  10. Fujita Y, Kawakita T, Arai T (1970) Tectonogenesis in the formative process of the Motojuku Green Tuff beds. Assoc Geol Collabor Japan 16:81–95Google Scholar
  11. Glicken H, Janda RJ, Voight B (1980) Catastrophic landslide/ debris avalanche of May 18, 1980. Mount St. Helens volcano. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 61:1135Google Scholar
  12. Gudmundsson A (1988) Formation of collapse calderas. Geology 16:808–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gudmundsson A (1998) Formation and development of normal-fault calderas and the initiation of large explosive eruptions. Bull Volcanol 60:160–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gudmundsson A, Marti J, Turon E (1997) Stress fields generating ring faults in volcanoes. Geophys Res Lett 24:1559–1562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoshino K, Koide H, Inami K, Iwamura S, Mitsui S (1972) Mechanical properties of Japanese Tertiary sedimentary rocks under high confining pressures. Geol Surv Japan 244:1–200Google Scholar
  16. Hubbert M (1937) Theory of scale models as applied to the study of geologic structures. Geol Soc Am Bull 48:1459–1520Google Scholar
  17. Hubbert M (1951) Mechanical basis for certain familiar geologic structures. Geol Soc Am Bull 62:355–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jones RH, Stewart RC (1997) A method for determining significant structures in a cloud of earthquakes. J Geophvs Res 102:8245–8254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Komuro H (1987) Experiments on cauldron formation: a polygonal cauldron and ring fractures. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 31:139–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Komuro H, Fujita Y, Kodama K (1984) Numerical and experimental models on the formation mechanism of collapse basins during the Green Tuff orogenesis of Japan. Bull Volcanol 47:649–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Krantz RW (1991) Normal fault geometry and fault reactivation in tectonic inversion experiments. Geol Soc Spec Publ 56:219–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lipman PW (1997) Subsidence of ash-flow calderas: relation to caldera size and chamber geometry. Bull Volcanol 59:198–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mandi G (1988) Mechanics of tectonic faulting; models and basic concepts. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  24. Marti J, Ablay GS, Redshaw LT, Sparks RSJ (1994) Experimental studies of collapse calderas. J Geol Soc London 151:919–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marti J, Folch A, Neri A, Macedonio G (2000) Pressure evolution during explosive caldera-forming eruptions. Earth Planet Sci Lett 175:275–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McBirney AR, Williams H (1969) Geology and petrology of the Galapagos Islands. Geol Soc Am Mem 118:1–197Google Scholar
  27. McLeod P, Tait S (1999) The growth of dvkes from magma chambers. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 92: 231–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moore I, Kokelaar P (1998) Technically controlled piecemeal caldera collapse: a case study of Glen Coe volcano, Scotland. Geol Soc Am Bull 110:1448–1466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mori J, McKee CO (1987) Outward-dipping ring fault structure at Rabaul Caldera as shown bv earthquake locations. Science 235:193–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nakada S, Fujii T (2000) Sequence and interpretation of Caldera-Forming Event at Miyakejima Volcano, Japan. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 81:1258Google Scholar
  31. Newhall C, Dzurisin D (1988) Historical unrest at large calderas of the world. US Geol Surv Bull 1855:1–1108Google Scholar
  32. Ode H (1957) Mechanical analysis of the dyke pattern of the Spanish Peaks area, Colorado. Geol Soc Am Bull 68:567–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Odonne F, Menard I, Massonnat GJ, Rolando JP (1999) Abnormal reverse faulting above a depleting reservoir. Geology 27:111–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Prucha JJ (1965) Deformation of Silurian salt in Cayuga Rock Salt Company Mine, Myers. New York. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 46:163Google Scholar
  35. Ramberg H (1981) Deformation structures in theory and experiments. Geol Soc Sweden. 131 ppGoogle Scholar
  36. Roche O, Druitt T, Merle O (2000) Experimental study of caldera formation. J Geophys Res 105:395–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rowland SK (1996) Slopes, lava flow volumes, and vent distributions on Volcano Fernandino, Galapagos Islands. J Geophys Res 101:23657–23672Google Scholar
  38. Sanford A (1959) Analytical and experimental study of simple geological structures. Geol Soc Am Bull 42:19–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Scandone R (1990) Chaotic collapse of calderas. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 42:285–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schmincke H-U (1967) Cone sheet swarm, resurgence of Tejeda Caldera, and the early geologic history of Gran Canaria. Bull Volcanol 31:153–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schmincke H-U (1968) Faulting versus erosion and the reconstruction of the mid-Miocene shield volcano of Gran Canaria. Geol Mitt 8:23–50Google Scholar
  42. Schmincke H-U (1969) Ignimbrite sequence on Gran Canaria. Bull Volcanol 33:1199–1219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schmincke H-U (1976) The geology of the Canary Islands. In: Kunkel G (ed) Ecology and biogeography of the Canary islands. Junk, Holland, pp 76–184Google Scholar
  44. Schmincke H-U (1994) Geological field guide of Gran Canaria. Part I and II. Pluto Press, Kiel, pp 1–64Google Scholar
  45. Schultz RA (1996) Relative scale and the strength and deformability of rock masses. J Struct Geol 18:1139–1149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Simkin T, Howard KA (1970) Caldera collapse in the Galapagos islands, 1968. Science 169:429–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Simons M, Fialko Y, Rivera L, Chapin E, Hensley S, Rosen PA, Shaffer S, Webb FH, Langbein J (2000) Analysis of geodetic measurements of crustal deformation at Long Valley Caldera. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 81:1322Google Scholar
  48. Smith R, Bailey R (1968) Resursent cauldrons. Geol Soc Am Mem 116:83–104Google Scholar
  49. Steven TA, Lipman PW (1976) Calderas of the San Juan volcanic field, southwestern Colorado. US Geol Surv Prof Pap 958:1–35Google Scholar
  50. Swanson DA (1982) Magma supply rate at Kilauea volcano 1952–1971. Science 175:169–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Thomas PJ, Squyres SW, Carr MH (1990) Flank tectonics of Martian volcanoes. J Geophys Res 95:14345–14355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tibaldi A, Vezzoli L (1998) The space problem of caldera resurgence: an example from Ischia Island, Italy. Geol Rundsch 87:53–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Troll VR, Emeleus CH, Donaldson CH (2000) Caldera formation in the Rum Igneous Centre, Scotland. Bull Volcanol 62:301–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Usai S, Sansosti E, Lanari R, Tesauro M, Fornaro G, Berardino P, Lundgren P (2000) Deformation time series analysis and modeling surface deformation observed with SAR interferometry at Campi Flegreicaldera. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 81:1322Google Scholar
  55. Walker GPL (1984) Downsag calderas, ring faults, caldera sizes, and incremental caldera growth. J Geophys Res 89:8407–8416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Walker GPL (1999) Volcanic rift zones and their intrusion swarms. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 94:21–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Williams H (1941) Calderas and their origin. Univ Calif Berkeley Publ Geol Sci 25:239–346Google Scholar
  58. Williams H, McBirney A (1979) Volcanology. Freeman, Cooper and Co., San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  59. Wisser E (1927) Oxidation subsidence at Bisbee, Arizona. Econ Geol Bull 22:761–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ye S, Rihm R, Danobeitia J, Canales J, Gallart J (1999) A crustal transect through the northern and northeastern part of the volcanic edifice of Gran Canaria. J Geodyn 28:3–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Yokoyama I, Ohkawa S (1986) Subsurface structure of Aira caldera and its vicinity in southern Kyushu, Japan. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 30:253–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Abteilung Vulkanologie und PetrologieGEOMAR ForschungszentrumKielGermany

Personalised recommendations