Quantifying Microstructural Evolution in Moving Magma

Katherine J. Dobson*, Anja Allabar, Eloise Bretagne, Jason Coumans, Mike Cassidy, Corrado Cimarelli, Rebecca Coats, Thomas Connolley, Loic Courtois, Donald B. Dingwell, Danilo Di Genova, Benjamin Fernando, Julie L. Fife, Frey Fyfe, Stephan Gehne, Thomas Jones, Jackie E. Kendrick, Helen Kinvig, Stephan Kolzenburg, Yan LavalléeEmma Liu, Edward W. Llewellin, Amber Madden-Nadeau, Kamel Madi, Federica Marone, Cerith Morgan, Julie Oppenheimer, Anna Ploszajski, Gavin Reid, Jenny Schauroth, Christian M. Schlepütz, Catriona Sellick, Jérémie Vasseur, Felix W. von Aulock, Fabian B. Wadsworth, Sebastian Wiesmaier, Kaz Wanelik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Many of the grand challenges in volcanic and magmatic research are focused on understanding the dynamics of highly heterogeneous systems and the critical conditions that enable magmas to move or eruptions to initiate. From the formation and development of magma reservoirs, through propagation and arrest of magma, to the conditions in the conduit, gas escape, eruption dynamics, and beyond into the environmental impacts of that eruption, we are trying to define how processes occur, their rates and timings, and their causes and consequences. However, we are usually unable to observe the processes directly. Here we give a short synopsis of the new capabilities and highlight the potential insights that in situ observation can provide. We present the XRheo and Pele furnace experimental apparatus and analytical toolkit for the in situ X-ray tomography-based quantification of magmatic microstructural evolution during rheological testing. We present the first 3D data showing the evolving textural heterogeneity within a shearing magma, highlighting the dynamic changes to microstructure that occur from the initiation of shear, and the variability of the microstructural response to that shear as deformation progresses. The particular shear experiments highlighted here focus on the effect of shear on bubble coalescence with a view to shedding light on both magma transport and fragmentation processes. The XRheo system is intended to help us understand the microstructural controls on the complex and non-Newtonian evolution of magma rheology, and is therefore used to elucidate the many mobilization, transport, and eruption phenomena controlled by the rheological evolution of a multi-phase magmatic flows. The detailed, in situ characterization of sample textures presented here therefore represents the opening of a new field for the accurate parameterization of dynamic microstructural control on rheological behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number287
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • in situ
  • magma
  • rheology
  • synchrotron
  • volcanology
  • X-ray tomography


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