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Unexpected large eruptions from buoyant magma bodies within viscoelastic crust

Sigmundsson, Freysteinn and Pinel, Virginie and Grapenthin, Ronni and Hooper, Andrew and Halldórsson, Sæmundur A. and Einarsson, Páll and Ófeigsson, Benedikt G. and Heimisson, Elías R. and Jónsdóttir, Kristín and Gudmundsson, Magnús T. and Vogfjörd, Kristín and Parks, Michelle and Li, Siqi and Drouin, Vincent and Geirsson, Halldór and Dumont, Stéphanie and Fridriksdottir, Hildur M. and Gudmundsson, Gunnar B. and Wright, Tim J. and Yamasaki, Tadashi (2020) Unexpected large eruptions from buoyant magma bodies within viscoelastic crust. Nature Communications, 11 . Art. No. 2403. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC7229005.

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Large volume effusive eruptions with relatively minor observed precursory signals are at odds with widely used models to interpret volcano deformation. Here we propose a new modelling framework that resolves this discrepancy by accounting for magma buoyancy, viscoelastic crustal properties, and sustained magma channels. At low magma accumulation rates, the stability of deep magma bodies is governed by the magma-host rock density contrast and the magma body thickness. During eruptions, inelastic processes including magma mush erosion and thermal effects, can form a sustained channel that supports magma flow, driven by the pressure difference between the magma body and surface vents. At failure onset, it may be difficult to forecast the final eruption volume; pressure in a magma body may drop well below the lithostatic load, create under-pressure and initiate a caldera collapse, despite only modest precursors.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Sigmundsson, Freysteinn0000-0001-9052-4665
Pinel, Virginie0000-0002-4928-9584
Grapenthin, Ronni0000-0002-4926-2162
Hooper, Andrew0000-0003-4244-6652
Einarsson, Páll0000-0002-6893-9626
Heimisson, Elías R.0000-0001-8342-7226
Gudmundsson, Magnús T.0000-0001-5325-3368
Li, Siqi0000-0001-6289-7819
Drouin, Vincent0000-0002-5340-0484
Geirsson, Halldór0000-0003-2056-1588
Dumont, Stéphanie0000-0002-4779-7788
Wright, Tim J.0000-0001-8338-5935
Yamasaki, Tadashi0000-0002-7118-8720
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 15 October 2019; Accepted 08 April 2020; Published 15 May 2020. The research presented here has benefitted from extended visits of FS during a sabbatical term to, and discussion with scientists at, the University of Leeds, ISTerre University of Savoie Mont-Blanc, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, and Geological Survey of Japan. We acknowledge reviews by Philip Benson and Luca Caricchi that helped to significantly improve the paper, as well as reviews of an early version of the paper by two anonymous reviewers. Financial support from the H2020 project EUROVOLC funded by the European Commission is acknowledged (grant number 731070). F.S. acknowledges support from the University of Iceland Research Fund, and R.G. acknowledges partial support through NSF grant EAR-1464546. Fissure swarms, central volcanoes and caldera outlines shown in Fig. 1 are reproduced from publications referred to (refs. 42,76) with permissions from Elsevier, and we acknowledge the use of ArticDEM (ref. 77) to plot surface and ice topography shown in Fig. 1. COMET is the NERC Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics, a partnership between UK Universities and the British Geological Survey. Data availability: The source data underlying Figs. 1, 2b, 4, 6, and 8 and Supplementary Figs. 1 and 2 are provided in a Source Data file. Author Contributions: F.S. led the development of the ideas and modelling framework presented in this paper, with the participation of V.P., R.G., A.H., S.A.H., P.E., E.R.H., M.T.G., T.W. and T.Y.; Numerical modelling with the COMSOL software was carried out by V.P., and S.A.H. did the D-Compress modelling. The crustal density model was made by M.T.G.; Collection and analyses of seismic and geodetic data was carried out by B.G.Ó., K.J., K.V., M.P., S.D. H.M.F., G.B.G, P.E., E.R.H, H.G., F.S., A.H., S.L. and V.D. All the authors contributed to evaluation of the modelling, discussion of the results and the writing of the paper. The authors declare no competing interests.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Commission731070
University of IcelandUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Geodynamics; Volcanology
PubMed Central ID:PMC7229005
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200526-080121519
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Sigmundsson, F., Pinel, V., Grapenthin, R. et al. Unexpected large eruptions from buoyant magma bodies within viscoelastic crust. Nat Commun 11, 2403 (2020).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103434
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 May 2020 16:34
Last Modified:06 Jul 2020 21:11

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