Volcanism in Reverse and Strike-Slip Fault Settings

  • Alessandro TibaldiEmail author
  • Federico Pasquarè
  • Daniel Tormey
Part of the International Year of Planet Earth book series (IYPE)


Traditionally volcanism is thought to require an extensional state of stress in the crust. This review examines recent relevant data demonstrating that volcanism occurs also in compressional tectonic settings associated with reverse and strike-slip faulting. Data describing the tectonic settings, structural analysis, analogue modelling, petrology, and geochemistry, are integrated to provide a comprehensive presentation of this topic. An increasing amount of field data describes stratovolcanoes in areas of coeval reverse faulting, and shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and monogenic edifices along strike-slip faults, whereas calderas are mostly associated with pull-apart structures in transcurrent regimes. Physically-scaled analogue experiments simulate the propagation of magma in these settings, and taken together with data from subvolcanic magma bodies, they provide insight into the magma paths followed from the crust to the surface. In several transcurrent tectonic plate boundary regions, volcanoes are aligned along both the strike-slip faults and along fractures normal to the local least principal stress (σ3). At subduction zones, intra-arc tectonics is frequently characterised by contraction or transpression. In intra-plate tectonic settings, volcanism can develop in conjunction with reverse faults or strike slip faults. In most of these cases, magma appears to reach the surface along fractures striking parallel to the local σ1. In some cases, there is a direct geometric control by the substrate strike-slip or reverse fault: magma is transported beneath the volcano to the surface along the main faults, irrespective of the orientation of σ3. The petrology and geochemistry of lavas erupted in compressive stress regimes indicate longer crustal residence times, and higher degrees of lower crustal and upper crustal melts contributing to the evolving magmas when compared to lavas from extensional stress regimes. Small volumes of magma tend to rise to shallow crustal levels, and magma mixing is common in the compressional regimes. In detailed studies from the Andes and Anatolia, with geographic and temporal coverage with which to compare compressional, transcurrent and extensional episodes in the same location, there do not appear to be changes to the mantle or crustal source materials that constitute the magmas. Rather, as the stress regime becomes more compressional, the magma transport pathways become more diffuse, and the crustal residence time and crustal interaction increases.


Compressional tectonics Reverse faults Strike-slip faults Volcanism Magma transport 



C.J. Busby is greatly acknowledged for her useful suggestions on a previous version of the manuscript. This is a contribution to the International Lithosphere Programme – Task II project “New tectonic causes of volcano failure and possible premonitory signals”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Tibaldi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Federico Pasquarè
    • 2
  • Daniel Tormey
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geological Sciences and GeotechnologiesUniversity of Milan-BicoccaMilan-BicoccaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Environment SciencesUniversity of InsubriaInsubriaItaly
  3. 3.ENTRIX IncVenturaUSA

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