Magmatic architecture within a rift segment: Articulate axial magma storage at Erta Ale volcano, Ethiopia

Wenbin Xu, Eleonora Rivalta, Xing Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding the magmatic systems beneath rift volcanoes provides insights into the deeper processes associated with rift architecture and development. At the slow spreading Erta Ale segment (Afar, Ethiopia) transition from continental rifting to seafloor spreading is ongoing on land. A lava lake has been documented since the twentieth century at the summit of the Erta Ale volcano and acts as an indicator of the pressure of its magma reservoir. However, the structure of the plumbing system of the volcano feeding such persistent active lava lake and the mechanisms controlling the architecture of magma storage remain unclear. Here, we combine high-resolution satellite optical imagery and radar interferometry (InSAR) to infer the shape, location and orientation of the conduits feeding the 2017 Erta Ale eruption. We show that the lava lake was rooted in a vertical dike-shaped reservoir that had been inflating prior to the eruption. The magma was subsequently transferred into a shallower feeder dike. We also find a shallow, horizontal magma lens elongated along axis inflating beneath the volcano during the later period of the eruption. Edifice stress modeling suggests the hydraulically connected system of horizontal and vertical thin magmatic bodies able to open and close are arranged spatially according to stresses induced by loading and unloading due to topographic changes. Our combined approach may provide new constraints on the organization of magma plumbing systems beneath volcanoes in continental and marine settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume476
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Erta Ale volcano
  • InSAR
  • lava lake
  • magma plumbing system
  • slow spreading ridge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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