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Ascent and eruption of basaltic magma on the Earth and moon

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/04/1981
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB4
Number of pages31
Pages (from-to)2971-3001
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Geological and physical observations and constraints are applied to the development of a modelof the ascent and emplacement of basaltic magma on the earth and moon. Mathematical models of the nature and motion of gas/liquid mixtures are developed and show that gas exsolution from terrestrial and lunar magmas commonly only occurs at shallow depths (less than 2km); thus the ascent of bubble-free magma at depth can be treated separately from the complex motions caused by gas exsolution near the surface. Magma ascent is related to dike or conduit width; a lower limit to width is determined by the presence of a finite magma yield strength or by excessive magma cooling effects related to magma viscosity. For terrestrial basalts with negligible yield strengths and viscosities greater than 102Pa s, widths in the range 0.2-0.6m are needed to allow eruptions from between depths of 0.5-20km. Fissure widths of about 4m would be needed to account for the output rates estimated for the Columbia River flood basalt eruptions.-Authors