Influence of ring faulting in localizing surface deformation at subsiding calderas

Yuan-Kai Liu, Joel Ruch, Hannes Vasyura-Bathke, Sigurjon Jonsson

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17 Scopus citations


Caldera unrest can lead to major volcanic eruptions. Analysis of subtle subsidence or inflation at calderas helps understanding of their subsurface volcanic processes and related hazards. Several subsiding calderas have shown similar patterns of ground deformation composed of broad subsidence affecting the entire volcanic edifice and stronger localized subsidence focused inside the caldera. Physical models of internal deformation sources used to explain these observations typically consist of two magma reservoirs at different depths in an elastic half-space. However, such models ignore important subsurface structures, such as ring faults, that may influence the deformation pattern. Here we use both analog subsidence experiments and boundary element modeling to study the three-dimensional geometry and kinematics of caldera subsidence processes, evolving from an initial downsag to a later collapse stage. We propose that broad subsidence is mainly caused by volume decrease within a single magma reservoir, whereas buried ring-fault activity localizes the deformation within the caldera. Omitting ring faulting in physical models of subsiding calderas and using multiple point/sill-like sources instead can result in erroneous estimates of magma reservoir depths and volume changes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115784
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Sep 4 2019


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