Abstract

The size, frequency, and intensity of volcanic eruptions are strongly controlled by the volume and connectivity of magma within the crust. Several geophysical and geochemical studies have produced a comprehensive model of the magmatic system to depths near 7 km beneath Mount St. Helens (Washington State, USA), currently the most active volcano in the Cascade Range. Data limitations have precluded imaging below this depth to observe the entire primary shallow magma reservoir, as well as its connection to deeper zones of magma accumulation in the crust. The inversion of P and S wave traveltime data collected during the active-source component of the iMUSH (Imaging Magma Under St. Helens) project reveals a high P-wave (Vp)/S-wave (Vs) velocity anomaly beneath Mount St. Helens between depths of 4 and 13 km, which we interpret as the primary upper–middle crustal magma reservoir. Beneath and southeast of this shallow reservoir, a low Vp velocity column extends from 15 km depth to the Moho. Deep long-period events near the boundary of this column indicate that this anomaly is associated with the injection of magmatic fluids. Southeast of Mount St. Helens, an upper–middle crustal high Vp/Vs body beneath the Indian Heaven Volcanic Field may also have a magmatic origin. Both of these high Vp/Vs bodies are at the boundaries of the low Vp middle–lower crustal column and both are directly above high Vp middle–lower crustal regions that may represent cumulates associated with recent Quaternary or Paleogene–Neogene Cascade magmatism. Seismicity immediately following the 18 May 1980 eruption terminates near the top of the inferred middle–lower crustal cumulates and directly adjacent to the inferred middle–lower crustal magma reservoir. These spatial relationships suggest that the boundaries of these high-density cumulates play an important role in both vertical and lateral transport of magma through the crust.

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