Caldera Lava Dome Collapse On Santa Cruz In The Galapagos Panorama

Al Bourassa

Andalucia, Colombia

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A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters. The word comes from Spanish caldera, and this from Latin caldaria, meaning “cooking pot”. In some texts the English term cauldron is also used.
A collapse is triggered by the emptying of the magma chamber beneath the volcano, usually as the result of a large volcanic eruption. If enough magma is ejected, the emptied chamber is unable to support the weight of the volcanic edifice above it. A roughly circular fracture, the ring fault, develops around the edge of the chamber. Ring fractures serve as feeders for fault intrusions which are also known as ring dykes. Secondary volcanic vents may form above the ring fracture. As the magma chamber empties, the center of the volcano within the ring fracture begins to collapse. The collapse may occur as the result of a single cataclysmic eruption, or it may occur in stages as the result of a series of eruptions. The total area that collapses may be hundreds or thousands of square kilometers.
When Yellowstone Caldera last erupted some 650,000 years ago, it released about 1,000 km3 of material (as measured in dense rock equivalent (DRE)), covering a substantial part of North America in up to two metres of debris. By comparison, when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it released ~1.2 km3 (DRE) of ejecta. The ecological effects of the eruption of a large caldera can be seen in the record of the Lake Toba eruption in Indonesia.
This panorama, artwork is derived from a photograph taken February 16, 2013 on Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands belonging to Ecuador.
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