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Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 8;7(1):10970. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10009-6.

Effects of Host-rock Fracturing on Elastic-deformation Source Models of Volcano Deflation.

Author information

1
UCD School of Earth Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. eoghan.holohan@ucd.ie.
2
GFZ-German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 2.1 - Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Potsdam, Germany. eoghan.holohan@ucd.ie.
3
GFZ-German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 2.1 - Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Potsdam, Germany. henriette.sudhaus@ifg.uni-kiel.de.
4
Institute of Geosciences, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany. henriette.sudhaus@ifg.uni-kiel.de.
5
GFZ-German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 2.1 - Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Potsdam, Germany.
6
UCD School of Earth Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
7
Department for Geodynamics and Sedimentology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

Volcanoes commonly inflate or deflate during episodes of unrest or eruption. Continuum mechanics models that assume linear elastic deformation of the Earth's crust are routinely used to invert the observed ground motions. The source(s) of deformation in such models are generally interpreted in terms of magma bodies or pathways, and thus form a basis for hazard assessment and mitigation. Using discontinuum mechanics models, we show how host-rock fracturing (i.e. non-elastic deformation) during drainage of a magma body can progressively change the shape and depth of an elastic-deformation source. We argue that this effect explains the marked spatio-temporal changes in source model attributes inferred for the March-April 2007 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise volcano, La Reunion. We find that pronounced deflation-related host-rock fracturing can: (1) yield inclined source model geometries for a horizontal magma body; (2) cause significant upward migration of an elastic-deformation source, leading to underestimation of the true magma body depth and potentially to a misinterpretation of ascending magma; and (3) at least partly explain underestimation by elastic-deformation sources of changes in sub-surface magma volume.

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