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On the Propagation Path of Magma‐Filled Dikes and Hydrofractures: The Competition Between External Stress, Internal Pressure, and Crack Length

Abstract : Mixed-mode fluid-filled cracks represent a common means of fluid transport within the Earth's crust. They often show complex propagation paths which may be due to interaction with crustal heterogeneities or heterogeneous crustal stress. Previous experimental and numerical studies focus on the interplay between fluid overpressure and external stress but neglect the effect of other crack parameters. In this study, we address the role of crack length on the propagation paths in the presence of an external heterogeneous stress field. We make use of numerical simulations of magmatic dike and hydrofracture propagation, carried out using a two-dimensional boundary element model, and analogue experiments of air-filled crack propagation into a transparent gelatin block. We use a 3-D finite element model to compute the stress field acting within the gelatin block and perform a quantitative comparison between 2-D numerical simulations and experiments. We show that, given the same ratio between external stress and fluid pressure, longer fluid-filled cracks are less sensitive to the background stress, and we quantify this effect on fluid-filled crack paths. Combining the magnitude of the external stress, the fluid pressure, and the crack length, we define a new parameter, which characterizes two end member scenarios for the propagation path of a fluid-filled fracture. Our results have important implications for volcanological studies which aim to address the problem of complex trajectories of magmatic dikes (i.e., to forecast scenarios of new vents opening at volcanoes) but also have implications for studies that address the growth and propagation of natural and induced hydrofractures.
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https://hal.uca.fr/hal-02135359
Contributor : Sylvaine Jouhannel Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 5:06:55 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 7:01:57 PM

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F. Maccaferri, D. Smittarello, V. Pinel, Valérie Cayol. On the Propagation Path of Magma‐Filled Dikes and Hydrofractures: The Competition Between External Stress, Internal Pressure, and Crack Length. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, AGU and the Geochemical Society, 2019, 20 (4), pp.2064-2081. ⟨10.1029/2018GC007915⟩. ⟨hal-02135359⟩

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