Formation of crustal magma chambers in Iceland may be facilitated by the occurrence of stress barriers that lead to formation of thick sills. Such sills absorb the magma of all dikes that enter them and may evolve into magma chambers. Ideal sites for stress barriers, and hence for magma chambers, are rock formations where individual layers have different elastic properties. The rocks formed during the Pleistocene have notably different elastic properties, and when buried in the volcanic zones, they form more promising sites for magma chambers than the Tertiary rocks. This may explain why the number of magma chambers, indicated by the number of corresponding central volcanoes, during the late Pleistocene (i.e., during the past 0.7 m.y.) appears to be proportionally greater than the number of chambers (i.e., central volcanoes) active during Tertiary time.

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