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Structure of an active volcano associated with a resurgent block inferred from thermal mapping: The Yasur–Yenkahe volcanic complex (Vanuatu)

Abstract : Subsurface thermal measurements provide a valuable tool to map hydrothermal-fluid release zones in active volcanic areas. On the Yasur–Yenkahe volcanic complex (Tanna Island, Vanuatu archipelago), fumaroles and hot springs abound, signs of upraising heat fluxes associated to a well-developed hydrothermal activity. Combination of high resolution mapping of ground thermal anomalies with geomorphological analysis allows the characterization of the structural relationships between the active Yasur volcano and the Yenkahe resurgent block.A complex system of heat release and hydrothermal fluid circulation below the Yasur–Yenkahe complex is evidenced. Circulation, though propagating vertically as a whole, is funneled by stratification. Thus, the main thermal fluid released is almost exclusively concentrated along structural limits that break the seals induced by the stratified nature of the ground. Three types of medium/high temperature anomalies have been evidenced: (1) broad hydrothermalized areas linked with planar stratification that favor lateral spreading, (2) linear segments that represent active faults, and (3) arcuate segments related to paleo-crater rims. The limit between the Yasur volcano and the Yenkahe resurgent block is characterized by an active fault system accommodating both the rapid uplift of the Yenkahe block and the overloading induced by the volcano weight. In such a setting, faults converge below the cone of Yasur, which acts as a focus for the faults. Evidence of such structures, sometimes hidden in the landscape but detected by thermal measurements, is critical for risk assessment of flank landslides.
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Aline Peltier, Anthony Finizola, G. A. Douillet, Élodie Brothelande, E. Garaebiti. Structure of an active volcano associated with a resurgent block inferred from thermal mapping: The Yasur–Yenkahe volcanic complex (Vanuatu). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Elsevier, 2012, 243-244, pp.59-68. ⟨10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.06.022⟩. ⟨hal-01148219⟩

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