Magmatic fluid pathways in the upper crust: Insights from dense magnetotelluric observations around the Kuju Volcanoes, Japan

Koki Aizawa, Mitsuru Utsugi, Keigo Kitamura, Takao Koyama, Makoto Uyeshima, Nobuo Matsushima, Shinichi Takakura, Haruhiro Inagaki, Hiroki Saito, Yasuhiro Fujimitsu

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetotelluric (MT) observations have revealed subvertical electrical conductors that extend from shallow depths into the mid-crust at various geothermal zones, active volcanoes and active faults worldwide. These deeply rooted subvertical conductors have typically been interpreted to represent entire zones of dedicated fluid transport through the crust. We estimate the high-resolution 3-D crustal resistivity structure below the Kuju Volcanoes, Japan, using dense observations from 153 broad-band MT measurement sites and 40 telluric measurement sites. The resistivity structure highlights subvertical conductors that merge into a deep conductor to the north of the volcanoes, with deep low-frequency earthquakes occurring near the southeastern edge of this subvertical conductor at 10-30 km depth. This deep conductor branches into several subvertical conductors at 2-10 km depth, coinciding with a shallow zone where tectonic earthquakes rarely occur. The surface expressions of active geothermal areas and past volcanic eruptions are all located above the edges of the conductors at 2-6 km depth. Widespread conductive layers exist around the volcanoes above 2 km depth, and their distribution approximately corresponds to a low-gravity-anomaly zone. We discuss the nature of these subvertical conductors, the potential causes of their complex structure and their relationship to local magmatic fluid transport. These subvertical conductors, a shallow clay-rich layer, developed fracture systems and high-strength solidified magma may all contribute to magmatic fluid transport to the surface at the Kuju Volcanoes. In this study, we add the possibility that the edges of these subvertical conductors act as important magmatic fluid pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-772
Number of pages18
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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