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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2019-87
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2019-87
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 May 2019

Research article | 15 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Extrusion dynamics of deep-water volcanoes

Qiliang Sun1,2,3, Christopher A.-L. Jackson4, Craig Magee4,5, Samuel J. Mitchell6, and Xinong Xie1,3 Qiliang Sun et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Tectonics and Petroleum Resources, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Ministry of Education, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 2Laboratory for Marine Mineral Resources, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266061, China;
  • 3College of Marine Science and Technology, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, Hubei 430074, PR China
  • 4Basins Research Group (BRG), Department of Earth Science &Engineering, Imperial College, London, SW7 2BP, UK
  • 5School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 6School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1RJ UK

Abstract. Submarine volcanism accounts for c. 75 % of the Earth's volcanic activity. Yet difficulties with imaging their exteriors and interiors mean the extrusion dynamics and erupted volumes of deep-water volcanoes remain poorly understood. Here, we use high-resolution 3-D seismic reflection data to examine the external and internal geometry, and extrusion dynamics of two Late Miocene-Quaternary, deep-water (> 2 km emplacement depth) volcanoes buried beneath 55–330 m of sedimentary strata in the South China Sea. The volcanoes have crater-like basal contacts, which truncate underlying strata, and erupted lava flows that feed lobate lava fans. The lava flows are > 9 km long and contain lava tubes that have rugged basal contacts defined by ~ 90 ± 23 m high erosional ramps. We suggest the lava flows eroded down into and were emplaced at shallow sub-surface depths within wet, unconsolidated, near-seafloor sediments. Extrusion dynamics were likely controlled by low magma viscosities, high hydrostatic pressures, and soft, near-seabed sediments, which collectively are characteristic of deep-water environments. Because the lava flows and volcanic edifices are imaged in 3D, we calculate the lava flows account for 50–97 % of the total erupted volume. Our results indicate deep-water volcanic edifices may thus form a minor component (~ 3–50 %) of the extrusive system, and that accurate estimates of erupted volume requires knowledge of the basal surface of genetically related lava flows. We conclude that 3D seismic reflection data is a powerful tool for constraining the geometry and extrusion dynamics of buried, deep-water volcanic features; such data should be used to image and quantify extrusion dynamics of modern deep-water volcanoes.

Qiliang Sun et al.
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Short summary
3D seismic reflection data reveals deepwater volcanoes have rugged basal contacts, which truncate underlying strata, and erupted lava flows that feed lobate lava fans. The lava flows (> 9 km long) account for 50–97 % of the total erupted volume. This indicates deepwater volcanic edifices may thus form a minor component (~ 3–50 %) of the extrusive system, and that accurate estimates of erupted volume requires knowledge of the basal surface of genetically related lava flows.
3D seismic reflection data reveals deepwater volcanoes have rugged basal contacts, which...
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