Resurgent Toba—field, chronologic, and model constraints on time scales and mechanisms of resurgence at large calderas

Shanaka L. de Silva, Adonara E. Mucek, Patricia M. Gregg, Indyo Pratomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Highlights: •New data reveal for the first time a history of the last ∼33.7 ky of uplift of Samosir. •Minimum uplift rates were high (4.9 cm/year) for the first 11.2 ky but diminished after that to <1 cm/year for the last 22.5 ky. •Numerical modeling suggests that rebound of remnant magma augmented by deep recharge appears to be the most likely driver for uplift. •Detumescence makes a negligible contribution to resurgent uplift. •The volume of the resurgent dome is isostatically compensated by magma •Average rates of uplift at Toba are much lower than currently restless calderas indicating a distinction between resurgence and “restlessness”. New data reveal details of the post-caldera history at the Earth’s youngest resurgent supervolcano, Toba caldera in Sumatra. Resurgence after the caldera-forming ∼74ka Youngest Toba Tuff eruption uplifted the caldera floor as a resurgent dome, Samosir Island, capped with 100m of lake sediments. 14C age data from the uppermost datable sediments reveal that Samosir Island was submerged beneath lake level (∼900m a.s.l) at 33ka. Since then, Samosir experienced 700m of uplift as a tilted block dipping to the west. 14C ages and elevations of sediment along a transect of Samosir reveal that minimum uplift rates were ∼4.9cm/year from ∼33.7 to 22.5ka, but diminished to ∼0.7cm/year after 22.5ka. Thermo-mechanical models informedby these rates reveal that detumescence does not produce the uplift nor the uplift rates estimated for Samosir. However, models calculating the effect of volume change of the magma reservoir within a temperature-dependent viscoelastic host rock reveal that a single pulse of ∼475km3 of magma produces a better fit to the uplift data than a constant flux. The cause of resurgent uplift of the caldera floor is rebound of remnant magma as the system re-established magmastatic and isostatic equilibriumafter the caldera collapse. Previous assertions that the caldera floor was apparently at 400m a.s.l or lower requires that uplift must have initiated between sometime between 33.7 and 74ka at a minimum average uplift rate of ∼1.1cm/year. The change in uplift rate from pre-33.7ka to immediately post-33.7ka suggests a role for deep recharge augmenting rebound. Average minimum rates of resurgent uplift at Toba are at least an order of magnitude slower than net rates of “restlessness” at currently active calderas. This connotes a distinction between resurgence and “restlessness” controlled by different processes, scales of process, and controlling variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
StatePublished - Jun 9 2015


  • Carbon-14 dating
  • Lake sediments
  • Magmastatic equilibrium
  • Magmatic intrusion
  • Numerical modeling
  • Remnant magma
  • Resurgence
  • Toba caldera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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