From rock to magma and back again: The evolution of temperature and deformation mechanism in conduit margin zones

Explosive silicic volcanism is driven by gas overpressure in systems that are inefficient at outgassing. The zone at the margin of a volcanic conduit-thought to play an important role in the outgassing of magma and therefore pore pressure changes and explosivity-is the boundary through which heat is exchanged from the hot magma to the colder country rock. Using a simple heat transfer model, we first show that the isotherm for the glass transition temperature (whereat the glass within the groundmass transitions from a glass to an undercooled liquid) moves into the country rock when the magma within the conduit can stay hot, or into the conduit when the magma is quasi-stagnant and cools (on the centimetric scale over days to months). We then explore the influence of a migrating viscous boundary on compactive deformation micromechanisms in the conduit margin zone using high-pressure (effective pressure of 40 MPa), high-temperature (up to 800 degrees C) triaxial deformation experiments on porous andesite. Our experiments show that the micromechanism facilitating compaction in andesite is localised cataclastic pore collapse at all temperatures below the glass transition of the amorphous groundmass glass T-g(i.e., rock). In this regime, porosity is only reduced within the bands of crushed pores; the porosity outside the bands remains unchanged. Further, the strength of andesite is a positive function of temperature below the threshold T-g due to thermal expansion driven microcrack closure. The micromechanism driving compaction above T-g (i.e., magma) is the distributed viscous flow of the melt phase. In this regime, porosity loss is distributed and is accommodated by the widespread flattening and closure of pores. We find that viscous flow is much more efficient at reducing porosity than cataclastic pore collapse, and that it requires stresses much lower than those required to form bands of crushed pores. Our study therefore highlights that temperature excursions can result in a change in deformation micromechanism that drastically alters the mechanical and hydraulic properties of the material within the conduit margin zone, with possible implications for pore pressure augmentation and explosive behaviour. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Published in:
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 463, 92-100
Amsterdam, Elsevier

 Record created 2017-02-10, last modified 2018-03-17

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