Thursday, October 29, 2015

USA, California: 3D Survey Suggests Geothermal Reservoir South of Mono Lake

3D Images of Magma Below Mono Craters Area (USGS)

A new conceptual model of the magma system below Mono Lake and Mono Craters in eastern California gives scientists a more detailed understanding of volcanic processes at depth, and a better model for forecasting volcanic unrest.

The Mono Craters volcanic area is ranked among the nation’s high threat volcanoes. Recent eruptions at Mono Craters occurred about 600 years ago at Panum Crater, and about 350 years ago on Paoha Island in the middle of Mono Lake. The accuracy and high resolution of the new three-dimensional images of the magma chambers and volcanic “plumbing” below Mono Basin give scientists a better understanding of their size, shape and where the next eruption might occur.

The 3D resistivity images show at least two vertical magma columns 10 km (6 miles) deep. One column underneath Panum Crater, resembling the shape of a giraffe’s neck, veers off horizontally, suggesting the presence of hydrothermal fluids near the surface. The other column, below South Coulee, gives no indication of recent near-surface activity. An older body of granitic rock, a pluton, was also discernable amid the columns of younger magma in the 3D imaging.