Segmentation and Radial Anisotropy of the Deep Crustal Magmatic System Beneath the Cascades Arc

Chengxin Jiang, Brandon Schmandt, Geoffrey A. Abers, Eric Kiser, Meghan S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Volcanic arcs consist of many distinct vents that are ultimately fueled by the common melting processes in the subduction zone mantle wedge. Seismic imaging of crustal-scale magmatic systems can provide insight into how melt is organized in the deep crust and eventually focused beneath distinct vents as it ascends and evolves. Here, we investigate the crustal-scale structure beneath a section of the Cascades arc spanning four major stratovolcanoes: Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens (MSH), Mt. Adams (MA), and Mt. Rainier, based on ambient noise data from 234 seismographs. Simultaneous inversion of Rayleigh and Love wave dispersion constrains the isotropic shear velocity (Vs) and identifies radially anisotropic structures. Isotropic Vs shows two sub-parallel low-Vs zones (∼3.45–3.55 km/s) at ∼15–30 km depth with one connecting Mt. Rainier to MA, and another connecting MSH to Mt. Hood, which are interpreted as deep crustal magma reservoirs containing up to ∼2.5%–6% melt, assuming near-equilibrium melt geometry. Negative radial anisotropy, from vertical fractures like dikes, is prevalent in this part of the Cascadia, but is interrupted by positive radial anisotropy, from subhorizontal features like sills, extending vertically beneath MA and Mt. Rainier at ∼10–30 km depth and weaker and west-dipping positive anisotropy beneath MSH. The positive anisotropy regions are adjacent to rather than co-located with the isotropic low-Vs anomalies. Ascending melt that stalled and mostly crystallized in sills with possible compositional differences from the country rock may explain the near-average Vs and positive radial anisotropy adjacent to the active deep crustal magma reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GC010738
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Mt. St. Helens
  • arc volcano
  • magmatic reservoir
  • seismic anisotropy
  • sill complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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