Modelling ground deformation patterns associated with volcanic processes at the Okataina Volcanic Centre

L. Holden, R. Cas, N Fournier, L. Ailleres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Okataina Volcanic Centre (OVC) is one of two large active rhyolite centres in the modern Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) in the North Island of New Zealand. It is located in a complex section of the Taupo rift, a tectonically active section of the TVZ. The most recent volcanic unrest at the OVC includes the ~. 1315. CE Kaharoa and 1886 Tarawera eruptions. Current monitoring activity at the OVC includes the use of continuous GPS receivers (cGPS), lake levelling and seismographs. The ground deformation patterns preceding volcanic activity the OVC are poorly constrained and restricted to predictions from basic modelling and comparison to other volcanoes worldwide. A better understanding of the deformation patterns preceding renewed volcanic activity is essential to determine if observed deformation is related to volcanic, tectonic or hydrothermal processes. Such an understanding also means that the ability of the present day cGPS network to detect these deformation patterns can also be assessed.The research presented here uses the finite element (FE) modelling technique to investigate ground deformation patterns associated with magma accumulation and diking processes at the OVC in greater detail. A number of FE models are produced and tested using Pylith software and incorporate characteristics of the ~. 1315. CE Kaharoa and 1886 Tarawera eruptions, summarised from the existing body of research literature. The influence of a simple ring fault structure at the OVC on the modelled deformation is evaluated. The ability of the present-day continuous GPS (cGPS) GeoNet monitoring network to detect or observe the modelled deformation is also considered. The results show the modelled horizontal and vertical displacement fields have a number of key features, which include prominent lobe based regions extending northwest and southeast of the OVC. The results also show that the ring fault structure increases the magnitude of the displacements inside the caldera, in particular in the vicinity of the southern margin. As a result, some of the cGPS stations in the vicinity of the OVC are more important for measuring deformation related to volcanic processes than others. The results have important implications for how any future observed deformation at the OVC is observed and interpreted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65–78
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume344
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Caldera
  • Finite element modelling
  • Ground deformation
  • New Zealand
  • Satellite geodesy

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