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Understanding the Role Played by Density and Neutral Buoyance on Near-Surface Magma Reservoirs

Steven Daniel Hochman ('09), Eric Grosfils

Using 2D finite element modeling software, we assess the failure characteristics of near-surface ellipsoidal magma reservoirs subjected to different loading and density conditions. Recent analysis by Grosfils (in press) has established a new understanding for how such reservoirs grow and eventually fail in tension, creating the opportunity to obtain additional insight into how variations in physical parameters will affect the characteristics of rupture. The goal of our project is to determine whether magma reservoirs found outside of neutral buoyancy (NB) conditions, where magma and host rock densities are equal, develop and rupture any differently then reservoirs found in conditions of NB. We assessed variations in magma and host rock density within uniform, two-layer, and smoothly varying host rock density environments. Our data indicate that NB plays an insignificant role in dictating the rupture characteristics of magma reservoirs, a result sharply at odds with many other published results.
Funding provided by: SURP (Elgin)

Research at Pomona