The Moses Rock Dike diatreme, Cane Valley, Utah.

A diatreme is a breccia-filled volcanic pipe that was formed by a gaseous explosion. Diatremes often breach the surface and produce a tuff cone, a filled relatively shallow crater known as a maar, or other volcanic pipes.


Word origin

The term has been applied more generally to any concave body of broken rock or tuff-breccia, generally formed by explosive or hydrostatic forces, whether or not it is related to volcanism. Some diatreme explosions may result from the interaction of hot magma and relatively shallow groundwater.


Kimberlite and lamproite volcanic pipes associated with diamond occurrences are usually considered to be volatile charged piercement structures or diatreme volcanic features from the lower crust or upper mantle. Many copper and base metal ore deposits have associated intrusive breccia pipes which are rich in ore minerals and have been referred to as diatreme in nature.

An intrusion is the material causing the diatremic piercement. Many volcanic processes produce piercement structures through intrusions of igneous rock. However, most igneous intrusions are not considered diatremic.

Economic importance

Diatremes are sometimes associated with deposition of economic mineral deposits. A significant diatreme event was that which formed the giant Sullivan galena (lead-zinc-silver) orebody in British Columbia, Canada. Other diatremes in British Columbia include the Blackfoot diatreme and Cross diatreme.


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  • Diatrème — Un diatrème (du grec diatrêma, perforation (dia = à travers) est une cheminée volcanique emplie de brèches volcaniques dues à des explosions. Ces explosions sont généralement la conséquence d une vaporisation brutale d eaux phréatiques lors de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • diatreme — /duy euh treem /, n. Geol. a volcanic vent produced in a solid rock structure by the explosive energy of gases in magmas. [1930 35; DIA + Gk trêma hole] * * * …   Universalium

  • diatreme — noun A cone shaped volcanic vent produced by the explosion of gas filled magma …   Wiktionary

  • diatreme —    A breccia filled volcanic pipe that was formed by a gaseous explosion (e.g., hydrovolcanic eruption); commonly, but not exclusively associated with exposed throat or neck of maar, as in the Hopi Buttes area of northeastern Arizona.    Compare …   Glossary of landform and geologic terms

  • diatreme — GLOSSARY OF VOLCANIC TERMS A funnel shaped, pipe like volcanic conduit, usually filled with volcaniclastic debris, emplaced by the explosive energy of gas charged magmas. Diatremes are believed to result from hydrovolcanic fragmentation and… …   Glossary of volcanic terms

  • diatreme — [ dʌɪətri:m] noun Geology a long vertical pipe or plug formed when gas filled magma forced its way up through overlying strata. Origin early 20th cent.: from dia + Gk trēma perforation …   English new terms dictionary

  • diatreme — di·a·treme …   English syllables

  • diatreme — /ˈdaɪətrim/ (say duyuhtreem) noun Geology a volcanic vent, typically filled with breccia, produced by the explosive action of gases in magma. {dia + Greek trema hole} …   Australian English dictionary

  • diatreme — ˈdīə.ˌtrēm noun ( s) Etymology: dia + Greek trēma hole more at throw : a small generally circular volcanic vent produced by gaseous explosion usually preceded by deep seated rock fusion by hot gases …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cross diatreme — Elevation 2,200 m (7,218 ft) Location Location …   Wikipedia

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