Subterranean fragmentation of magma during conduit initiation and evolution in the shallow plumbing system of the small-volume Jagged Rocks volcanoes (Hopi Buttes Volcanic Field, Arizona, USA)

Giuseppe Re, James D L White, James D. Muirhead, Michael H Ort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Monogenetic volcanoes have limited magma supply and lack long-lived sustained magma plumbing systems. They erupt once, often from multiple vents and sometimes over several years, and are rarely or never re-activated. Eruptive behavior is very sensitive to physical processes (e.g., volatile exsolution, magma-water interaction) occurring in the later stages of magma ascent at shallow crustal depths (<1 km), which yield a spectrum of eruptive styles including weak to moderate explosive activity, violent phreatomagmatism, and lava effusion. Jagged Rocks Complex in the late Miocene Hopi Buttes Volcanic field (Arizona, USA) exposes the frozen remnants of the feeding systems for one or a few monogenetic volcanoes. It provides information on how a shallow magmatic plumbing system evolved within a stable non-marine sedimentary basin, and the processes by which magma flowing through dikes fragmented and conduits were formed. We have identified three main types of fragmental deposits, (1) buds (which emerge from dikes), (2) pyroclastic massifs, and (3) diatremes; these represent three different styles and intensities of shallow-depth magma fragmentation. They may develop successively and at different sites during the evolution of a monogenetic volcano. The deposits consist of a mixture of pyroclasts with varying degrees of welding and country-rock debris in various proportions. Pyroclasts are commonly welded together, but also reveal in places features consistent with phreatomagmatism, such as blocky shapes, dense groundmasses, and composite clasts (loaded and cored). The extent of fragmentation and the formation of subterranean open space controlled the nature of the particles and the architecture and geometry of these conduit structures and their deposits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016



  • Conduit
  • Diatreme
  • Dike
  • Fissure eruption
  • Monogenetic
  • Phreatomagmatic
  • Scoria cone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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