Spatial distribution and structural analysis of vents in the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field (Nevada, USA)

A Tadini, F.L Bonali, C Corazzato, Joaquin Cortes, A Tibaldi, G.A Valentine

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    40 Citations (Scopus)


    Volcanoes within monogenetic volcanic fields often are arranged in alignments and clusters, which are related to effects of magma source geometry in the upper mantle, principal stress orientations, and crustal structures on their magma feeding systems. We use cluster analysis with dendrogram, vent morphometric analysis, and field structural data to explore the relationships between volcanoes and tectonic features in the Plio-Pleistocene part of the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field (LCVF; Pancake Range, Nevada, USA), which includes 96 monogenetic volcanic edifices totaling 119 vents. Structural analysis identified three main sets of faults with dip-slip kinematics (mostly normal with a few examples of thrust faults), striking N-S, E-W, and NE-SW. The NE-SW set comprises dip-slip faults with a dominant normal component of movement, which are consistent with the modern state of stress based upon the World Stress Map database. Spatial distribution pattern analysis suggests a clustered distribution of vents in the LCVF, and GIS-based spatial density analysis shows that these clusters trend mostly NE-SW. Morphometric study of the monogenetic cones, which provides information on feeder dike orientation where dikes are not directly exposed, suggests dominant NNE-SSW to NE-SW orientations of near-surface inferred dikes. An amount of 27 out of 31 inferred feeder dikes within the LCVF is parallel to the present orientation of the greatest principal horizontal stress (σ Hmax ) as suggested by World Stress Map data derived from hydrofracturing and earthquake focal mechanisms. In some cases, dike strike is parallel with that of pre-existing Quaternary dip-slip faults. We suggest that the spatial distribution of vents is related to domains of different scales of partial melting and compositional heterogeneity in the upper mantle source, which is substantiated by geochemical data. The relationship of feeder dikes with respect to shallow tectonic structures, although somewhat ambiguous at LCVF, is consistent with behavior that is intermediate between volcanic fields with high- and low-long-term magma fluxes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number877
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalBulletin of Volcanology
    Issue number11
    Early online date19 Oct 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2014


    • Monogenetic volcanism
    • Scoria cone
    • Spatial analysis
    • Stress field
    • Structural analysis
    • Volcanic field


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