Abstract

Calderas are common on volcanoes, but their structure is seldom visible. The 19-km-wide Bolsena caldera, Italy, formed between 0.6 and 0.2 Ma. The largely preserved structural rim and subsurface data make Bolsena ideal to investigate caldera structure in relation to the subsidence and erupted volume. In this paper, we use remote sensing, field analysis, and available subsurface data. At the surface, the caldera passes from a downsag (south rim) to a narrow and densely faulted area (north rim), with outer normal and inner reverse faults. The caldera structure on the widely faulted east rim appears to be scale dependent, with a staircase-like fault zone (larger scale), horst-and-graben–like structures (intermediate scale), and domino-like structures (smaller scale). Subsurface data indicate asymmetric collapse, with a northward increase in subsidence, ranging from diffuse (to the south) to focused (to the north) deformation at the surface. The collapse rate, constant between ca. 490 and 175 ka, was more than magma output between ca. 330 and 130 ka, highlighting significant (∼200 m) and prolonged (∼200 ka) posteruptive subsidence. As the nearby Latera caldera (west rim of Bolsena) was mostly active between ca. 265 and 160 ka, much of the subsidence at Bolsena may be related to this activity, suggesting a common magmatic reservoir. The subsidence-related structural variations along the caldera rim and the significant posteruptive subsidence found at Bolsena have not been found in other calderas.

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