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Journal Articles Bulletin of Volcanology Year : 2011

Conditions for the arrest of a vertical propagating dyke


Magma ascent towards the Earth's surface occurs through dyke propagation in the vast majority of cases. We investigate two purely mechanical effects unrelated to cooling or solidification that lead to the arrest of propagation, so that no eruption occurs. The first is that the input of magma from the source is not maintained continuously, such that a fixed volume of magma is released. Laboratory experiments show that, in this case, the dyke stops at a finite distance from the source. This behaviour is specific to the fracturing process in 3-D. We derive a relationship for the minimum magma volume required for an eruption as a function of magma buoyancy and source depth. When large magma volumes are available, eruption may also be prevented by a thick low density layer in the upper crust. Numerical studies of dyke propagation show that the dyke continues to rise even though it is negatively buoyant. Magma accumulates in a swollen nose region at the interface between the low density layer and the dense basement. Magma overpressure is largest at this interface and increases with increasing penetration into the upper layer. It may become large enough to induce horizontal fractures in the dyke walls and lateral intrusion of a sill, which prevents eruption. This requires that the thickness of the low density layer exceeds a threshold value that depends on the density contrast between magma and host rock. If the magma volume is smaller than a threshold value, neither sill intrusion nor eruption are possible and magma gets stored in a horizontal blade-shaped dyke straddling the interface. Scaling laws for variations of ascent rate and for the minimum magma volume allow diagnosis of a failed eruption.

Dates and versions

insu-02928938 , version 1 (03-09-2020)



Benoit Taisne, Stephen Tait, Claude Jaupart. Conditions for the arrest of a vertical propagating dyke. Bulletin of Volcanology, 2011, 73 (2), pp.191-204. ⟨10.1007/s00445-010-0440-1⟩. ⟨insu-02928938⟩
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