Through examination of the vent region of Volcán Huaynaputina, Peru, we address why some major explosive eruptions do not produce an equivalent caldera at the eruption site. Here, in 1600, more than 11 km3 DRE (VEI 6) were erupted in three stages without developing a volumetrically equivalent caldera. Fieldwork and analysis of aerial photographs reveal evidence for cryptic collapse in the form of two small subsidence structures. The first is a small non-coherent collapse that is superimposed on a cored-out vent. This structure is delimited by a partial ring of steep faults estimated at 0.85 by 0.95 km. Collapse was non-coherent with an inwardly tilted terrace in the north and a southern sector broken up along a pre-existing local fault. Displacement was variable along this fault, but subsidence of approximately 70 m was found and caused the formation of restricted extensional gashes in the periphery. The second subsidence structure developed at the margin of a dome; the structure has a diameter of 0.56 km and crosscuts the non-coherent collapse structure. Subsidence of the dome occurred along a series of up to seven concentric listric faults that together accommodate approximately 14 m of subsidence. Both subsidence structures total 0.043 km3 in volume, and are much smaller than the 11 km3 of erupted magma. Crosscutting relationships show that subsidence occurred during stages II and III when ∼2 km3 was erupted and not during the main plinian eruption of stage I (8.8 km3). The mismatch in erupted volum e vs. subsidence volume is the result of a complex plumbing system. The stage I magma that constitutes the bulk of the erupted volume is thought to originate from a ∼20-km-deep regional reservoir based on petrological constraints supported by seismic data. The underpressure resulting from the extraction of a relatively small fraction of magma from the deep reservoir was not sufficient enough to trigger collapse at the surface, but the eruption left a 0.56-km diameter cored-out vent in which a dome was emplaced at the end of stage II. Petrologic evidence suggests that the stage I magma interacted with and remobilized a shallow crystal mush (∼4-6 km) that erupted during stage II and III. As the crystal mush erupted from the shallow reservoir, depressurization led to incremental subsidence of the non-coherent collapse structure. As the stage III eruption waned, local pressure release caused subsidence of the dome. Our findings highlight the importance of a connected magma reservoir, the complexity of the plumbing system, and the pattern of underpressure in controlling the nature of collapse during explosive eruptions. Huaynaputina shows that some major explosive eruptions are not always associated with caldera collapse.
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Acknowledgments Fieldwork was possible with the help of the muleros Raoul Palomo Rosada and Jose Menautte Corneho. We are grateful to Eddy Vizcarra for assistance in the field and to Laura Salas for providing us with energetic lúcuma juice. Thanks to Dr. Robert Andres and Dr. Ahmad Ghassemi for their useful advice during the thesis work of Yan Lavallée. Lastly, we are indebted to Dr. Thomas Walter, Dr. Joan Martí, and the editor Dr. John Stix for their thorough and constructive review of the manuscript. This project was funded by National Science Foundation grants EAR-0087181 and EAR-0296108.
- Huaynaputina volcano
- Lava dome subsidence
- Magma pressure change
- Non-coherent collapse structure
- Pre-existing fault
- Southern Peru
- Summit pit crater