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A tuya is a type of distinctive, flat-topped, steep-sided volcano formed when lava erupts through a thick glacier or ice sheet. They are somewhat rare worldwide, being confined to regions which were formerly covered by continental ice sheets and also had active volcanism during the same time period.


Hogg Rock (foreground), Oregon, United States
Tuyas are a type of subglacial volcano that consists of nearly horizontal beds of basaltic lava capping outward-dipping beds of fragmental volcanic rocks, and they often rise in isolation above a surrounding plateau. Tuyas are found throughout Icelandmarker, British Columbiamarker, the Santiam Passmarker region in Oregonmarker, the Antarctic Peninsulamarker and beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in Antarcticamarker. Tuyas in Icelandmarker are sometimes called table mountain because of their flat tops.

S. Holland, a geographer for the British Columbia government, described tuyas in the following way:
"They have a most interesting origin ... [they were] formed by volcanic eruptions which had been thawed through the Pleistocene ice-sheet by underlying volcanic heat. The lavas capping the mountains were extruded after the volcanoes were built above lake-level, and the outward-dipping beds were formed by the chilling of the lava when it reached the water's edge."

Word origin

The origin of the term comes from Tuya Buttemarker, one of many tuyas in the area of the Tuya River and Tuya Range in far northern British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker.While still in graduate school in 1947, Canadian geologist Bill Mathews published a paper titled, "Tuyas, Flat-Topped Volcanoes in Northern British Columbia", in which he coined the term "tuya" to refer to these distinctive volcanic formations. Tuya Buttemarker is a near-ideal specimen of the type, the first such landform analyzed in the geological literature, and this name has since become standard worldwide among volcanologists in referring to and writing about these formations. The Tuya Mountains Provincial Park was recently established to protect this unusual landscape, which lies north of Tuya Lakemarker and south of the Jennings Rivermarker near the boundary with the Yukon Territorymarker. Around the same time that Matthews published his paper, the Icelandic geologist Guðmundur Kjartansson had distinguished between "móberg" ridges and tuyas in Iceland and proposed the hypothesis that they were formed during subglacial and intraglacial eruptions.

A volcanic mesa near Santa Fe, New Mexicomarker, known in English as Black Mesa and resembling a tuya, is known in Tewa as Tu-yo[291707].


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