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Published July 2001 | Published
Journal Article Open

Finite source modelling of magmatic unrest in Socorro, New Mexico, and Long Valley, California


We investigate surface deformation associated with currently active crustal magma bodies in Socorro, New Mexico, and Long Valley, California, USA. We invert available geodetic data from these locations to constrain the overall geometry and dynamics of the inferred deformation sources at depth. Our best-fitting model for the Socorro magma body is a sill with a depth of 19 km, an effective diameter of 70 km and a rate of increase in the excess magma pressure of 0.6 kPa yr^(−1). We show that the corresponding volumetric inflation rate is ∼6×10^(−3) km^3 yr^(−1), which is considerably less than previously suggested. The measured inflation rate of the Socorro magma body may result from a steady influx of magma from a deep source, or a volume increase associated with melting of the magma chamber roof (i.e. crustal anatexis). In the latter case, the most recent major injection of mantle-derived melts into the middle crust beneath Socorro may have occurred within the last several tens to several hundreds of years. The Synthetic Interferometric Aperture Radar (InSAR) data collected in the area of the Long Valley caldera, CA, between June 1996 and July 1998 reveal an intracaldera uplift with a maximum amplitude of ∼11 cm and a volume of 3.5×10^(−2) km^3. Modelling of the InSAR data suggests that the observed deformation might be due to either a sill-like magma body at a depth of ∼12 km or a pluton-like magma body at a depth of ∼8 km beneath the resurgent dome. Assuming that the caldera fill deforms as an isotropic linear elastic solid, a joint inversion of the InSAR data and two-colour laser geodimeter data (which provide independent constraints on horizontal displacements at the surface) suggests that the inferred magma chamber is a steeply dipping prolate spheroid with a depth of 7–9 km and an aspect ratio in excess of 2:1. Our results highlight the need for large radar look angles and multiple look directions in future InSAR missions.

Additional Information

© 2001 RAS. Accepted 2001 February 11. Received 2001 February 8; in original form 2000 March 23. Article first published online: 20 Dec. 2001. We thank Alan Beck, Paul Davis and an anonymous reviewer for thoughtful comments that helped to improve this manuscript. This work was supported by NSF grant EAR-9980664. The ERS SAR imagery was acquired under the research user category from Eurimage, Italy. The data and modelling results presented in this paper are available from the authors. Seismological Laboratory contribution 8708.

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