Volcanic eruptions are usually fed by dikes. Understanding how crustal inhomogeneities and topographic loads control the direction (lateral/vertical) and extent (propagation/arrest) of dikes is crucial to forecast the opening of a vent. Many factors, including buoyancy, crustal layering, and topography, may control the vertical or lateral propagation of a dike. To define a hierarchy between these factors, we have conducted analogue models, injecting water (magma analogue) within gelatin (crust analogue). We investigate the effect of crustal layering (both rigidity and density layering), topography, magma inflow rate, and the density ratio between host rock and magma. Based on the experimental observations and scaling considerations, we suggest that rigidity layering (a stiffer layer overlying a weaker one) and topographic gradient favor predominantly lateral dike propagation; inflow rate, density layering, and density ratio play a subordinate role. Conversely, a softer layer overlying a stiffer one favors vertical propagation. Our results highlight the higher efficiency of a stiff layer in driving lateral dike propagation and/or inhibiting vertical propagation with respect to the Level of Neutral Buoyancy proposed by previous studies.

What Drives the Lateral Versus Vertical Propagation of Dikes? Insights From Analogue Models

Rivalta, E.
2018

Abstract

Volcanic eruptions are usually fed by dikes. Understanding how crustal inhomogeneities and topographic loads control the direction (lateral/vertical) and extent (propagation/arrest) of dikes is crucial to forecast the opening of a vent. Many factors, including buoyancy, crustal layering, and topography, may control the vertical or lateral propagation of a dike. To define a hierarchy between these factors, we have conducted analogue models, injecting water (magma analogue) within gelatin (crust analogue). We investigate the effect of crustal layering (both rigidity and density layering), topography, magma inflow rate, and the density ratio between host rock and magma. Based on the experimental observations and scaling considerations, we suggest that rigidity layering (a stiffer layer overlying a weaker one) and topographic gradient favor predominantly lateral dike propagation; inflow rate, density layering, and density ratio play a subordinate role. Conversely, a softer layer overlying a stiffer one favors vertical propagation. Our results highlight the higher efficiency of a stiff layer in driving lateral dike propagation and/or inhibiting vertical propagation with respect to the Level of Neutral Buoyancy proposed by previous studies.
Urbani, S.; Acocella, V.; Rivalta, E.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/775783
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