Three-dimensional structure of inclined sheet swarms: Implications for crustal thickening and subsidence in the volcanic rift zones of Iceland

Drew L. Siler, Jeffrey A. Karson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Inward-dipping (cone) sheet swarms and an associated central volcano are well-exposed in the deeply-eroded Tertiary crust of Vatnsdalur, Skagi Peninsula region, northern Iceland. Spatially registered orientations of 389 mafic sheets, mapped in three distinct sheet swarms define both the overall shape and magmatic source of each swarm. The Vatnsdalur sheet swarms consist of planar inward-dipping sheets that collectively define a conical shape rather than a bowl- or trumpet-shape as have been found in swarms in other locations. In the best exposed swarm, three-dimensional projection of mafic sheets into the subsurface defines two distinct foci, which are interpreted as the magmatic sources of two temporally distinct sub-swarms. These results help to establish the influence of inclined sheet intrusion on crustal accretion at central volcanoes. The geometry of the swarm constrains the thickness of material that was added to the crust during sheet intrusion. When combined with estimates of surface relief, we calculate that 2.2 to 4.1 km of subsidence were required beneath the central volcano in order to accommodate the intrusion of the sheet swarm. Similar processes of crustal thickening and subsidence likely occur in a wide variety of both continental rift and mid-ocean ridge systems where magmatic activity is focused at central volcanoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume188
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2009

Keywords

  • central volcano
  • cone sheets
  • crustal accretion
  • crustal thickening
  • subsidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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