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Bulletin of Volcanology

, 63:191 | Cite as

Formation of caldera periphery faults: an experimental study

  • Thomas R. Walter
  • Valentin R. Troll
Research Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Abteilung Vulkanologie und PetrologieGEOMAR ForschungszentrumKielGermany

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