Electromagnetic images of a volcanic zone

Alan G. Jones*, Isabelle Dumas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Data from 20 magnetotelluric (MT) soundings in the Coast belt of southwestern British Columbia, Canada, in the vicinity of volcanic Mounts Meager and Cayley (approximately 150 km north of Vancouver), are analysed to determine both the internal electrical conductivity structure of the Garibaldi volcanic belt and the regional conductivity structure. Galvanic distortion effects on the data are removed using Groom-Bailey tensor decomposition, and the regional 2D responses are determined in a survey-consistent reference coordinate frame for 1D and 2D modelling and inversion. The remaining unknowns, the site gain at each location, are estimated by requiring the long-period asymptotes of the E-polarization ρa curves to be the same, and alternatively are derived as part of the 2D inversion procedure. Positive correlations are observed between an increased temperature gradient at a depth of about 200 m, a zone of enhanced electrical conductivity and drilling results. The zone of enhanced conductivity is interpreted to be due to montmorillonite-dominated clay alteration minerals which form the cap rock of the geothermal reservoir. Below this cap, the zone is electrically resistive owing to the chlorite and sericite which form the reservoir itself. The volcanic belt is underlaid by highly resistive (more than 10 000 μ m) crystalline rock, beneath which is a deep conductive region (less than 70 μ m) beginning at a depth of 12 km. The cause of this crustal zone of enhanced conductivity is thought to be free saline water possibly released by metamorphic devolatization from the downgoing Juan de Fuca slab. Within this conductive layer is a region of high conductivity directly beneath the volcanic belt, which we interpret as the magna source body for the belt. Sensitivity studies imply that the upper crustal resistive zone underlies the whole complex, although a weakly conductive, thin, vertical channel, representative of a magma conduit from the deep source body to the near surface, cannot be excluded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-314
Number of pages26
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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