Monogenetic volcanoes fed by interconnected dikes and sills in the Hopi Buttes volcanic field, Navajo Nation, USA

James D. Muirhead, Alexa R. Van Eaton, Giuseppe Re, James D L White, Michael H Ort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Although monogenetic volcanic fields pose hazards to major cities worldwide, their shallow magma feeders (6 m3) and sills (minimum volume of 8.47 × 105 m3) in this study reveal that sills at Hopi Buttes make up at least 30 % of the shallow intruded volume (∼2.75 × 106 m3 total) within 350 m of the paeosurface. We have also identified saucer-shaped sills, which are not traditionally associated with monogenetic volcanic fields. Our study demonstrates that shallow feeders in monogenetic fields can form geometrically complex networks, particularly those intruding poorly consolidated sedimentary rocks. We conclude that the Hopi Buttes eruptions were primarily fed by NW-SE-striking dikes. However, saucer-shaped sills also played an important role in modulating eruptions by transporting magma toward and away from eruptive conduits. Sill development could have been accompanied by surface uplifts on the order of decimeters. We infer that the characteristic feeder systems described here for the Hopi Buttes may underlie monogenetic fields elsewhere, particularly where magma intersects shallow, and often weak, sedimentary rocks. Results from this study support growing evidence of the important role of shallow sills in active monogenetic fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Conduit
  • Dike
  • Intrusive complex
  • Monogenetic volcanic field
  • Saucer-shaped sill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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