Monogenetic volcanism is commonly represented by evolution of clusters of individual
volcanoes. Whereas the eruption duration of an individual volcano of a volcanic field
is generally short, the life of the entire volcanic fi eld is longer than that of
a composite volcano (e.g., stratovolcano). The magmatic output of an individual center
in a volcanic field is 1–3 orders of magnitude less than that of a composite volcano,
although the total field may be of the same volume as a composite volcano in any composition.
These features suggest that the magma source feeding both monogenetic volcanic fields
and composite volcanoes are in the same range. Monogenetic volcanic fields therefore
are an important and enigmatic manifestation of magmatism at the Earth’s surface.
The long eruption duration for an entire volcanic fi eld makes this type of volcanism
important for understanding sedimentary basin evolution. Accumulated eruptive products
may not be significant from a single volcano, but the collective field may contribute
significant sediment to a basin. The eruptive history of volcanic fi elds may span
millions of years, during which dramatic climatic and paleoenvironmental changes can
take place. Through systematic study of individual volcanoes in a field, detailed
paleoenvironmental reconstructions can be made as well as paleogeographic evaluations
and erosion-rate estimates. Monogenetic volcanoes are typically considered to erupt
only once and to be short-lived; recent studies, however, demonstrate that the general
architecture of a monogenetic volcano can be very complex and exhibit longer eruption
durations than expected. In this way, monogenetic volcanic fi elds should be viewed
as a complex, longlasting
volcanism that in many respects carries the basic characteristics similar to those
known from composite volcanoes.