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Imaging the magmatic system of Mono Basin, California with magnetotellurics in three--dimensions

November 1, 2015

A three–dimensional (3D) electrical resistivity model of Mono Basin in eastern California unveils a complex subsurface filled with zones of partial melt, fluid–filled fracture networks, cold plutons, and regional faults. In 2013, 62 broadband magnetotelluric (MT) stations were collected in an array around southeastern Mono Basin from which a 3D electrical resistivity model was created with a resolvable depth of 35 km. Multiple robust electrical resistivity features were found that correlate with existing geophysical observations. The most robust features are two 300 ± 50 km3 near-vertical conductive bodies (3–10 Ω·m) that underlie the southeast and north-eastern margin of Mono Craters below 10 km depth. These features are interpreted as magmatic crystal–melt mush zones of 15 ± 5% interstitial melt surrounded by hydrothermal fluids and are likely sources for Holocene eruptions. Two conductive east–dipping structures appear to connect each magma source region to the surface. A conductive arc–like structure (< 0.9 Ω·m) links the northernmost mush column at 10 km depth to just below vents near Panum Crater, where the high conductivity suggests the presence of hydrothermal fluids. The connection from the southernmost mush column at 10 km depth to below South Coulée is less obvious with higher resistivity (200 Ω·m) suggestive of a cooled connection. A third, less constrained conductive feature (4–10 Ω·m) 15 km deep extending to 35 km is located west of Mono Craters near the eastern front of the Sierra Nevada escarpment, and is coincident with a zone of sporadic, long–period earthquakes that are characteristic of a fluid-filled (magmatic or metamorphic) fracture network. A resistive feature (103–105 Ω·m) located under Aeolian Buttes contains a deep root down to 25 km. The eastern edge of this resistor appears to structurally control the arcuate shape of Mono Craters. These observations have been combined to form a new conceptual model of the magmatic system beneath Mono Craters to a depth of 30 km.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Imaging the magmatic system of Mono Basin, California with magnetotellurics in three--dimensions
DOI 10.1002/2015JB012071
Authors Jared R. Peacock, Margaret T. Mangan, Darcy McPhee, David A. Ponce
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research
Series Number
Index ID 70161997
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center