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Interaction of ascending magma with pre-existing crustal fractures in monogenetic basaltic volcanism: an experimental approach

Abstract : Magma transport through dikes is a major component of the development of monogenetic volcanic fields. These volcanic fields are characterized by numerous volcanic centers, each typically resulting from a single eruption. Therefore, magma must be transported from source to surface at different places, which raises the question of the relative importance of (1) the self-propagation of magma through pristine rock and (2) the control exerted by pre-existing fractures. To address this issue, we have carried out a series of analogue experiments to constrain the interaction of a propagating dike through a medium with pre-existing fractures. The experiments involved the injection of air into an elastic gelatin solid, which was previously cut into its upper part to simulate pre-existing fractures. The volume of the dikes, their distance from the fractures, and the ambient stress field were systematically varied to assess their influence on potential dike-fracture interactions. The results show that distance and angle between dikes and fractures influence these interactions and the dike trajectory. Dike geometry and dynamics are also affected by both the presence of the fractures and the dike volume; dikes propagating in between fractures tend to decelerate. In nature, interactions are expected for dikes and fractures separated by less than about 200 m, and dikes with a volume less than about 10 2 km3 would experience a velocity decrease. These results highlight the influence of pre-existing fractures on the mechanics and dynamics of dikes. These heterogeneities must be considered when studying the transport of magmas within the crust.
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Nicolas Le Corvec, Thierry Menand, Jan Lindsay. Interaction of ascending magma with pre-existing crustal fractures in monogenetic basaltic volcanism: an experimental approach. Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union, 2013, 118, pp.968-984. ⟨10.1002/jgrb.50142⟩. ⟨hal-00855253⟩

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