Caldera faults capture and deflect inclined sheets: an alternative mechanism of ring dike formation

John Browning, Agust Gudmundsson

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The subsurface structures of caldera ring faults are often inferred from numerical and analog models as well as from geophysical studies. All of these inferred structures need to be compared with actual ring faults so as to test the model implications. Here, we present field evidence of magma channeling into a caldera ring fault as exhibited at Hafnarfjall, a deeply eroded and well-exposed 5-Ma extinct volcano in western Iceland. At the time of collapse caldera formation, over 200 m of vertical displacement was accommodated along a ring fault, which is exceptionally well exposed at a depth of approximately 1.2 km below the original surface of the volcano. There are abrupt changes in the ring fault attitude with depth, but its overall dip is steeply inward. Several inclined sheets within the caldera became arrested at the ring fault; other sheets became deflected up along the fault to form a multiple ring dike. We present numerical models showing stress fields that encourage sheet deflection into the subvertical ring fault. Our findings provide an alternative mechanical explanation for magma channeling along caldera ring faults, which is a process likely to be fundamental in controlling the location of post-caldera volcanism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Early online date22 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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