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Monogenetic Volcanism


We are quickly made acutely aware of the complexity and intrigue surrounding monogenetic volcanism; a topic that has, until fairly recently, fallen within the shadow of those deemed more volcanologically compelling, despite being the most abundant type of volcano on Earth. Recent IAVCEI (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior) conferences have led to this publication, a compilation of 14 papers. As a collective entity, these papers serve in laying the foundations of current understanding into a subject for which we are still fundamentally scratching the surface, while also frequently delving deeper and yet remaining highly self-aware of the flaws and drawbacks that still remain within the scope of current research and existing models.

The structure and flow of the publication initially promises a varied global outlook upon the subject but soon refines the worldwide perspective to focus upon central and southern American regions. With this convergence of attention comes the chance to inspect and compare more closely the dynamics at play. The crux of this volume dwells on the visual subaerial products of various forms of monogenetic volcanism and their relation and nature of occurrence with respect to their multi-faceted subterranean counterparts, as well as incorporating eruptive styles. From individual maar diatremes and kimberlite pipes to large scale volcanic fields and igneous provinces, there is a plethora of insight including a particularly illuminating segment on Isla Isabel, an isolated volcanic island that has remained relatively uncharted and until now held more questions than answers.

Much like how several papers highlight the debate and ‘paradoxical situation’ surrounding monogenetic volcanoes in terms of their universally accepted premise, classification and nomenclature (especially when considering their comparison with polygenetic volcanoes as less like clear-cut contrasting endmembers and more akin to a transitional intermingling scale), this volume at times has a somewhat disjointed feel. This is perhaps induced partly from the differing emphases and approaches towards the subject, wavering depth of analysis as well as the subtly varying levels of audience that it seems to be addressing. Having said this, it does add to the effect and overall consolidates the feel of a comprehensive study, engaging and appropriate for a multitude of purposes.

Though occasional editing and formatting quirks slightly distracted, with some images and diagrams that would benefit from colour for the sake of clarity and lack of ambiguity, the undeniable forte of this publication is the work intertwined throughout the volume on maar diatreme volcanoes.

Reviewed by Ayla Stenning.

MONOGENETIC VOLCANISM by K. NÉMETH, G. CARRASCO-NÚÑEZ, J.J. ARANDA-GÓMEZ AND I.E.M. SMITH, 2017. Published by the Geological Society, 388pp (hbk), ISBN: 978-1-78620-276-5, List Price: £110.00, W: