Development of magmatic topography through repeated stochastic intrusions

Daniel O'Hara, Nathaniel Klema, Leif Karlstrom

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Transcrustal magma transport systems reflect accumulation of small-volume intrusions over long timescales, transiently altering the thermal, mechanical, and compositional states of the crust. The long-term impact of such repeated and spatially-distributed intrusive magmatism on surface topography remains relatively unexplored. Here, we investigate the development of topography associated with multiple generations of intrusions within the shallow to mid-crust. Expanding a single-intrusion elastic deformation model to regional scales, we determine surface signatures associated with stochastically-emplaced magmatic bodies with different spatial distributions. We find that mean intrusion radius-to-depth ratios control whether intrusions contribute more to regional crustal thickening or local topographic relief. For intrusions emplaced randomly in space following a Poisson distribution, surface topography is well-approximated by flexure of a thin elastic plate of constant effective thickness subject to basal forcing. However, we find that spatial overlap between intrusions at depth significantly limits the amount of information encoded in topography. We end by discussing how topography generated by magmatic intrusions fits into more general landscape evolution that includes climate-driven erosion, and categorize a range of previously-studied intrusive systems according to their topographic expression and predicted long-term landscape impact.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107371
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Jonathan Perkins and an anonymous reviewer for their insight and suggestions, which enhanced the quality of this manuscript. We thank Paul Richardson and Joshua J. Roering for discussions. This work was supported by NSF GRF 1309047 to D.O. and NSF CAREER 1848554 to L.K.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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