Investigating the long-term geodetic response to magmatic intrusions at volcanoes in northern California

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Amy L Parker1, Juliet Biggs1, Catherine Annen1, Gregory A Houseman2, Tadashi Yamasaki2, Tim J Wright2, Richard J Walters3 and Zhong Lu4, (1)University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom, (2)University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom, (3)University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2, United Kingdom, (4)Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, United States
Ratios of intrusive to extrusive activity at volcanic arcs are thought to be high, with estimates ranging between 5:1 and 30:1. Understanding the geodetic response to magmatic intrusion is therefore fundamental to large-scale studies of volcano deformation, providing insight into the dynamics of the inter-eruptive period of the volcano cycle and the building of continental crust.

In northern California, we identify two volcanoes - Medicine Lake Volcano (MLV) and Lassen Volcanic Center (LaVC) - that exhibit long-term (multi-decadal) subsidence. We test the hypothesis that deformation at these volcanoes results from processes associated with magmatic intrusions. We first constrain the spatial and temporal characteristics of the deformation fields, establishing the first time-series of deformation at LaVC using InSAR data, multi-temporal analysis techniques and global weather models. Although the rates of deformation at the two volcanoes are similar (~1 cm/yr), our results show that the ratio of vertical to horizontal displacements is significantly different, suggesting contrasting source geometries.

To test the origin of deformation, we develop modeling strategies to investigate thermal and viscoelastic processes associated with magmatic intrusions. The first model we develop couples analytical geodetic models to a numerical model of volume loss due to cooling and crystallization based upon temperature-melt fraction relationships from petrological experiments. This model provides evidence that magmatic intrusion at MLV has occurred more recently than the last eruption ~1 ka. The second model we test uses a finite element approach to simulate the time-dependent viscoelastic response of the crust to magmatic intrusion. We assess the magnitude and timescales of ground deformation that may result from these processes, exploring the model parameter space before applying the models to our InSAR observations of subsidence in northern California.