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  • Created 05 May 2016

About the Group

The new IAVCEI Commission on Volcanic and Igneous Plumbing Systems (VIPS) aims to foster and facilitate an integrated approach to understand crustal magma transport and storage processes on Earth and the other terrestrial planets.

VIPS comprise a network of structures that store magma in the crust and transport it to the surface to feed volcanic eruptions. These igneous structures include dykes, sills, laccoliths, and larger magma bodies. VIPS assemble to form plutons and batholiths and are the building blocks of the continental crust. They also have strong associations with significant mineralisation and ore deposits around the world. Their complex structures and physical-chemical processes are key parameters controlling the magnitude and style of volcanism that occurs at the Earth's surface. Understanding VIPS therefore has significant social and economic implications, making the study of VIPS an integral discipline within volcanology.

The study of VIPS requires a multidisciplinary approach. Diverse scientific disciplines have targeted the study of VIPS, including (1) volcano geodesy and seismology for studying active VIPS, (2) structural geology, igneous petrology, and geochemistry for studying ancient, eroded VIPS, and (3) analogue, numerical, and petrological modelling to constrain the dynamics and evolution of VIPS. Although researchers in all of these disciplines aim to understand the same system, they traditionally operate independently, which frequently leads to contradictory views and a lack of communication between disciplines. Consequently, method-based approaches alone are insufficient to fully characterise the complex chemo-physical processes governing the dynamics and evolution of VIPS. Moving towards a process-based approach by integrating various disciplines is key to derive a comprehensive understanding of VIPS.

The main goal of the new IAVCEI Commission on VIPS is to provide a forum for VIPS research beyond disciplinary or methodoligical boundaries, bringing together expertise from across the global VIPS community to answer fundamental questions regarding magma transport and storage in the crust.