Glacial influences on morphology and eruptive products of Hoodoo Mountain volcano, Canada
Published:January 01, 2002
B. R. Edwards, J. K. Russell, 2002. "Glacial influences on morphology and eruptive products of Hoodoo Mountain volcano, Canada", Volcano–Ice Interaction on Earth and Mars, J. L. Smellie, M. G. Chapman
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Hoodoo Mountain volcano (HMV), a Quaternary composite volcano in northwestern British Columbia, is a well-exposed example of peralkaline, phonolitic icecontact and subglacial volcanism. Its distinctive morphology and unique volcanic deposits are indicative of subglacial, within-ice, and/or ice-contact volcanic eruptions. Distinct ice-contact deposits result from three different types of lava–ice interaction: (1) vertical cliffs of lava, featuring finely jointed flow fronts up to 200 m in height, resulted from lava flows being dammed and ponded against thick masses of ice; (2) pervasively-jointed, dense lava flows, lobate intrusions, and domes associated with mantling deposits of poorly-vesiculated breccia are derived from volcanic eruptions contained beneath relatively thick ice; and (3) an association of pervasively-jointed, highly-vesicular lava flows or dykes encased by vesicular hyaloclastite of identical composition formed by eruption under and/or through relatively thin ice. The distribution of these three deposit types largely explains the distinctive morphology of Hoodoo Mountain and can be used to reconstruct variations in ice thickness surrounding the volcano since c.85 ka. Our analysis suggests that at c.85 ka Hoodoo Mountain erupted underneath ice cover of at least several hundred metres. At c.80 ka eruptions were no longer subglacial, but the edifice was surrounded by ice at least 800 m high that dammed lava flows around the perimeters of the volcano. After a period of eruptions showing no apparent evidence for ice interaction, from <80 to >40 ka, subglacial eruptions began again, signalling the build-up of regional ice levels. Local ice thickness during these eruptions may well have been over 2 km thick.
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Volcano–Ice Interaction on Earth and Mars
This volume focuses on magmas and cryospheres on Earth and Mars and is the first publication of its kind to combine a thematic set of contributions addressing the diverse range of volcano-ice interactions known or thought to occur on both planets. Understanding those interactions is a comparatively young scientific endeavour, yet it is vitally important for a fuller comprehension of how planets work as integrated systems. It is also topical since future volcanic eruptions on Earth may contribute to melting ice sheets and thus to global sea level rise.
Papers included here are likely to influence the choice of sites for future Mars missions in exobiologically important areas. On Earth, snow and ice are widespread, not only in extensive icecaps but also as alpine glaciers at high elevations in tropical regions. By contrast, Mars today is an arid volcanic planet with only small polar ice-caps although an abundance of water is believed to be trapped in the cryolithosphere. It is also thought that the planet may have sustained extensive frozen oceans early in its history. The presence of a former hydrosphere, a cryosphere and coincident volcanism thus make Mars the likeliest prospect for the first discoveries of life away from Earth. Much research has assumed that terrestrial volcano-ice systems are plausible analogues for putative Martian examples, but until mankind finally sets foot on Mars, there is no simple test for that assumption.
Our hope is that the knowledge presented here will stimulate research among planetary geologists in this exciting, rapidly expanding field for many years to come.