Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi)
Online ISSN : 1884-0884
Print ISSN : 0022-135X
Review Article
Structure and Development of Collapse Calderas
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2018 Volume 127 Issue 2 Pages 175-189


 The fundamental structure of a collapse caldera is subsidence of a block(s) into a magma chamber with the evacuation of a massive volume of magma from the chamber. Decompression of a magma chamber caused by the extraction of magma from a magma chamber coinciding with pyroclastic eruption, effusive eruption, and lateral magma migration drives caldera collapse. Caldera-forming eruptions exhibit wide variations. Caldera-forming pyroclastic eruptions are characterized by a high eruption rate, whereas caldera-forming effusive eruptions have a much lower effusion rate. Caldera collapse caused by a pyroclastic eruption generally occurs within one day, whereas incremental collapses continue for up to one month in the case of some effusive eruptions. Collapse calderas also have wide structural variations. The aspect ratio of the roof of the magma chamber controls the development of caldera faults. The development of multiple caldera faults with a high aspect ratio causes piecemeal collapses, whereas a low aspect ratio results in the subsidence of coherent blocks detached by a simple ring fault. With the progress of caldera subsidence, the caldera structure develops from a flexural down sag to a double-ring fault system, and finally reaches an upward-flaring “funnel shaped” caldera following an intense collapse of the caldera wall. Calderas vary widely in size from 1 km to 100 km, and can also be divided into at least three classes by their internal structures. The largest group of more than 20 km across is characterized by flexural down-sag deformation. The intermediate-size group is characterized by well-developed caldera-border faults. The smallest calderas of less than 10 km across may have piecemeal structures. The existence of a pre-caldera volcanic edifice is also an indicator of differences in the magmatic system. Some calderas form at the summit of a pre-existing stratovolcano or shield volcano, whereas some large calderas form in a cluster of small volcanoes, involving non-volcanic basement rocks. A structural model of caldera development should involve these wide spectrums of collapse calderas. The development of collapse calderas is controlled by variations of magmatic activity, such as eruption style, eruption rate, and duration of eruption, as well as the architectures of their magma storage systems.

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