Episodic massive mud eruptions from submarine mud volcanoes examined through topographical signatures
The role of mud volcanism on subsurface fluid migration and material cycling has long been debated. Here we compile the heights and radii of offshore mud volcanoes and estimate a mean volume of episodic massive mud eruptions based on previous studies into granular flows. The volume is estimated as a function of the ratio of height to basal radius of the mud volcano's body under reasonable assumptions of the sizes of the mud conduit. Nearly all known offshore mud volcanoes are found to be polygenetic with the mean individual eruption volume of the pie-type mud volcano being several orders of magnitude larger than that of the cone type. The frequent occurrence of pie-type mud volcanoes in accretionary margins characterized by high-sediment influx is explained by their efficiency in the transport of large amounts of fluidized sediments from deep depths to the seafloor.