Hydrothermal system beneath Mt. Fuji volcano inferred from magnetotellurics and electric self-potential

K. Aizawa, R. Yoshimura, N. Oshiman, K. Yamazaki, T. Uto, Y. Ogawa, S. B. Tank, W. Kanda, S. Sakanaka, Y. Furukawa, T. Hashimoto, M. Uyeshima, T. Ogawa, I. Shiozaki, A. W. Hurst

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Wideband magnetotelluric (MT) soundings were carried out on Mt. Fuji volcano along a northeast to southwest axis. It was found by two-dimensional inversion using the highest quality data (in the frequency range 1-300 Hz) that a good conductor (resistivity of approximately a few ohm m) was located beneath the summit with a lateral extent of approximately 4 km. It begins approximately 1 km below the ground surface; however, its depth cannot be resolved. In our previous study, an intense positive self-potential (SP) anomaly (approximately 2000 mV), was found around a summit crater having a diameter of approximately 3 km.We interpreted the presence of the good conductor and positive SP anomaly as a strong indication of an active hydrothermal system. Subsequently, we searched for conduction current sources to explain the SP distribution on the surface by using the resistivity structure determined by the MT inversion. The results obtained were that a positive conduction current source of the order of 1000 A should be located at the top of the conductor. From these results, we deduced that the conductor represents a hydrothermal system in which single-phase (liquid) convection is taking place. Since the resistivity at a distance from the good conductor can be explained by the effect of cold groundwater, the hydrothermal system does not seem to extend throughout the entire body of the volcano, but seems to be confined to the area beneath the summit crater. Finally, an estimate of the order of magnitude of the subsurface hydrothermal flow was performed using a relation between the fluid volume flux and electric current density in the capillary model. The result suggested that there exists fairly low permeability within the shallow part of Mt. Fuji. We speculate that the low permeability in the volcano has a correlation with the confinement of the hydrothermal system and quiescence of volcanic activities, such as low seismicity, no gas emanations, and no natural hot springs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-355
Number of pages13
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 30 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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