Magma Flow Instabilities in a Volcanic Conduit: Implications for Long-Period Seismicity

Alina Jane Hale (2007) Magma Flow Instabilities in a Volcanic Conduit: Implications for Long-Period Seismicity.

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Title Magma Flow Instabilities in a Volcanic Conduit: Implications for Long-Period Seismicity
Abstract/Summary Silicic volcanic eruptions are typically accompanied by repetitive Long-Period (LP) seismicity that originates from a small region of the upper conduit. These signals have the capability to advance eruption prediction, since they commonly precede a change in the eruption vigour. Shear bands forming along the conduit wall, where the shear stresses are highest, have been linked to providing the seismic trigger. However, existing computational models are unable to generate shear bands at the depths where the LP signals originate using simple magma strength models. Presented here is a model in which the magma strength is determined from a constitutive relationship dependent upon crystallinity and pressure. This results in a depth-dependent magma strength, analogous to planetary lithospheres. Hence, in shallow highly-crystalline regions a macroscopically discontinuous brittle type of deformation will prevail, whilst in deeper crystal-poor regions there will be a macroscopically continuous plastic deformation mechanism. This will result in a depth where the brittle-ductile transition occurs, and here shear bands disconnected from the free-surface may develop. We utilize the Finite Element Method and use axi-symmetric coordinates to model magma flow as a viscoplastic material, simulating quasi-static shear bands along the walls of a volcanic conduit. Model results constrained to the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, show the generation of two types of shear bands: upper-conduit shear bands that form between the free-surface to a few 100 metres below it and discrete shear bands that form at the depths where LP seismicity is measured to occur corresponding to the brittle-ductile transition and the plastic shear region. It is beyond the limitation of the model to simulate a seismic event, although the modelled viscosity within the discrete shear bands suggests a failure and healing cycle time that supports the observed LP seismicity repeat times. However, due to the paucity of data and large parameter space available these results can only be considered to be qualitative rather than quantitative at this stage.
Keyword Volcanology
Magma flow
LP seismicity
Shear bands
Publisher Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Date 2007-05-05
Subjects 260200 Geophysics
260103 Vulcanology
Author Alina Jane Hale
Open Access Status Other
Additional Notes Forthcoming article in Physics of The Earth and Planetary Interiors.

Document type: Preprint
Collection: School of Earth Sciences Publications
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Created: Mon, 30 Jul 2007, 12:37:35 EST by Alina Jane Hale on behalf of School of Earth Sciences