Global Rates of Volcanism and Volcanic Episodes

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In this chapter we explore global volcanism production rates and ask whether global volcanism is constant or episodic in nature. Three categories of terrestrial volcanism are considered: (l) ocean ridge volcanism, (2) arc volcanism above subduction zones, and (3) large igneous province volcanism and some volcanic island chains. Ocean ridge volcanism produces the large majority of global volcanic output, both presently and over geologic time. We find that volcanic production rates fluctuate over geologic time and appear to be intrinsically linked to the geologic context of the time. In particular, circumstances around supercontinent assembly and breakup profoundly impact magma production rates.

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The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes