Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020

7 - Magma Movement through the Crust: Dike Paths


How does magma move or rise from its source chamber to the surface? More specifically, how does magma generate a path to the surface so as to supply magma to an eruption? Or, in general, under what conditions do dike-fed eruptions occur? While these questions have been briefly mentioned in some of the earlier chapters, they and the answers have not been discussed in detail. That I shall do in the present chapter. While magma moves through the crust by different mechanisms (e.g. as diapirs), the main mechanism is magma-driven fractures. The general name for all magma-driven fractures, once solidified, is sheet intrusions or sheets, which include dikes, inclined sheets, and sills. Unless stated otherwise, the theoretical discussion in this chapter applies equally to all these three types of sheets. Here, the focus is on mostly dikes, partly for the simple reason that dikes supply magma to most eruptions. For general theoretical considerations, dike denotes both subvertical dikes, regional and local, and commonly also inclined sheets, although in some instances a distinction will be made between these structures.

Acocella, V., Trippanera, D., 2016. How diking affects the tectonomagmatic evolution of slow spreading plate boundaries: overview and models. Geosphere, 12, 867883.
Al Shehri, A., Gudmundsson, A., 2018. Modelling of surface stresses and fracturing during dyke emplacement: application to the 2009 episode at Harrat Lunayyir, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 356, 278303.
Bazargan, M., Gudmundsson, A., 2019. Dike-induced stresses and displacements in layered volcanic zones. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 384, 189205.
Becerril, L., Galindo, I., Gudmundsson, A., Morales, J. M., 2013. Depth of origin of magma in eruptions. Scientific Reports, 3, 2762, doi:10.1038/srep02762.
Blundell, S. J., Blundell, K. M., 2006. Concepts in Thermal Physics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bunger, A., 2009. Near-Surface Hydraulic Fracture: Laboratory Experimentation and Modeling of Shallow Hydraulic Fracture Growth. Saarbrucken: Lambert Academic Publishing.
Carslaw, H., Jaeger, J.C., 1959. Conduction of Heat in Solids. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Eppelbaum, L., Kutasov, I., Pilchin, A., 2014. Applied Geothermics. Berlin: Springer Verlag.
Forslund, T., Gudmundsson, A. 1991. Crustal spreading due to dikes and faults in Southwest Iceland. Journal of Structural Geology, 13, 443457.
Forslund, T., Gudmundsson, A. 1992. Structure of Tertiary and Pleistocene normal faults in Iceland. Tectonics, 11, 5768.
Freund, L. B., Suresh, S., 2004. Thin Film Materials: Stress, Defect Formation and Surface Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fukuyama, H., 1985. Heat of fusion of basaltic magma. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 73, 407414.
Galindo, I., Gudmundsson, A., 2012. Basaltic feeder dykes in rift zones: geometry, emplacement, and effusion rates. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 12, 36833700.
Geshi, N., Kusumoto, S., Gudmundsson, A., 2010. The geometric difference between non-feeders and feeder dikes. Geology, 38, 195198.
Geshi, N., Kusumoto, S., Gudmundsson, A., 2012. Effects of mechanical layering of host rocks on dike growth and arrest. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 223–224, 7482.
Gudmundsson, A., 1990. Emplacement of dikes, sills and crustal magma chambers at divergent plate boundaries. Tectonophysics, 176, 257275.
Gudmundsson, A., 1995. Infrastructure and mechanics of volcanic systems in Iceland. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 64, 122.
Gudmundsson, A., 2002. Emplacement and arrest of sheets and dykes in central volcanoes. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 116, 279298.
Gudmundsson, A., 2003. Surface stresses associated with arrested dykes in rift zones. Bulletin of Volcanology, 65, 606619.
Gudmundsson, A., 2006. How local stresses control magma-chamber ruptures, dyke injections, and eruptions in composite volcanoes. Earth-Science Reviews, 79, 131.
Gudmundsson, A., 2011a. Rock Fractures in Geological Processes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gudmundsson, A., 2011b. Deflection of dykes into sills at discontinuities and magma-chamber formation. Tectonophysics, 500, 5064.
Gudmundsson, A., 2017. The Glorious Geology of Iceland’s Golden Circle. Berlin: Springer Verlag.
Gudmundsson, A., Philipp, S. L., 2006. How local stress fields prevent volcanic eruptions. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 158, 257268.
Gudmundsson, A., Kusumoto, S., Simmenes, T. H., et al., 2012. Effects of overpressure variations on fracture apertures and fluid transport. Tectonophysics, 581, 220230.
Gudmundsson, A., Lecoeur, N., Mohajeri, N., Thordarson, T., 2014. Dike emplacement at Bardarbunga, Iceland, induces unusual stress changes, caldera deformation, and earthquakes. Bulletin of Volcanology, 76, 869, doi:10.1007/s00445-014-0869-8.
He, M. Y., Hutchison, J. W., 1989. Crack deflection at an interface between dissimilar elastic materials. International Journal of Solids and Structures, 25, 10531067.
He, M. Y., Evans, A. G., Hutchinson, J. W., 1994. Crack deflection at an interface between dissimilar elastic materials: role of residual stresses. International Journal of Solids and Structures, 31, 34433455.
Hutchinson, J. W., 1996. Stresses and failure modes in thin films and multilayers. Notes for a Dcamm Course. Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, pp. 145.
Isida, M., 1955. On the tension of a semi-infinite plate with an elliptic hole. Scientific Papers of the Faculty of Engineering, Tokushima University, 5, 7595.
Jaeger, J. C., 1957. Temperature in the neighbourhood of a cooling intrusive sheet. American Journal of Science, 255, 306318.
Jaeger, J. C., 1961. The cooling of irregularly shaped igneous bodies. American Journal of Science, 259, 721734.
Jaeger, J. C., 1964. Thermal effects of intrusions. Reviews of Geophysics, 2, 443466.
Jaeger, J. C., 1968. Cooling and solidification of igneous rocks. In Hess, H. H. and Poldervaart, A. (eds.), Basalts, Volume 2. New York, NY: Interscience, pp. 503536.
Jaupart, C., Mareschal, J. C., 2011. Heat Generation and Transport in the Earth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kavanagh, J., Menand, T., Sparks, R. S. J., 2006. An experimental investigation of sill formation and propagation in layered elastic media. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 245, 799813.
Kim, J. W., Bhowmick, S., Hermann, I., Lawn, B. R., 2006. Transverse fracture of brittle bilayers: relevance to failure of all-ceramic dental crowns. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, 79B, 5865.
Kusumoto, S., Gudmundsson, A., 2014. Displacement and stress fields around rock fractures opened by irregular overpressure variations. Frontiers in Earth Science, 2, doi:10.3389/feart.2014.00007.
Kusumoto, S., Geshi, N., Gudmundsson, A., 2013a. Inverse modeling for estimating fluid-overpressure distributions and stress intensity factors from arbitrary open-fracture geometry. Journal of Structural Geology, 46, 9298.
Kusumoto, S., Geshi, N., Gudmundsson, A., 2013b. Aspect ratios and magma overpressure of non-feeder dikes observed in the Miyakejima volcano (Japan), and fracture toughness of its upper part. Geophysical Research Letters, 40,
Lockwood, J. P., Hazlett, R. W., 2010. Volcanoes: Global Perspectives. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
Macdonald, G. A., 1972. Volcanoes. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Mastin, L. G., Pollard, D. D., 1988. Surface deformation and shallow dike intrusion processes at Inyo Craters, Long Valley, California. Journal of Geophysical Research, 93, 1322113235.
Menand, T., 2008. The mechanics and dynamics of sills in layered elastic rocks and their implications for the growth of laccoliths and other igneous complexes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 267, 9399.
Oxburgh, E. R., 1980. Heat flow and magma genesis. In Hargraves, R.B. (ed.), Physics of Magmatic Processes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 161199.
Philipp, S. L., 2008. Geometry and growth of gypsum veins in mudstones at Watchet, Somerset, SW England. Geological Magazine, 145, 831844.
Philipp, S. L., 2012. Fluid overpressure estimates from the aspect ratios of mineral veins. Tectonophysics, 581, 3547.
Pollard, D. D., Holzhausen, G., 1979. On the mechanical interaction between a fluid-filled fracture and the earth’s surface. Tectonophysics, 53, 2757.
Pollard, D. D., Delaney, P. T., Duffield, W. A., Endo, E. T., Okamura, A. T., 1983. Surface deformation in volcanic rift zones. Tectonophysics, 94, 541584.
Robertson, E. C., 1988. Thermal properties of rocks. US Geological Survey, Open-File Report 88–441, 1106.
Sun, C. T., Jin, Z. H., 2011. Fracture Mechanics. New York, NY: Academic Press.
Tibaldi, A., 2015. Structure of volcano plumbing systems: A review of multi-parametric effects. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 298, 85135.
Trippanera, D., Ruch, J., Acocella, V., Rivalta, E., 2015. Experiments of dike-induced deformation: insights on the long-term evolution of divergent plate boundaries. Journal of Geophysical Research, 120, 69136942.
Valko, P., Economides, M. J., 1995. Hydraulic Fracture Mechanics. New York, NY: Wiley.
Walker, G. P. L., 1965. Some aspects of Quaternary volcanism in Iceland. Quaternary Journal of the Geological Society, 49, 2540.
Warpinski, H. R. 1985. Measurement of width and pressure in a propagating hydraulic fracture. Journal of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, February, 4654.
Williams, H., McBirney, A. R., 1979. Volcanology. San Francisco, CA: Freeman.
Xu, W., Jonsson, S., Corbi, F., Rivalta, E., 2016. Graben formation and dike arrest during the 2009 Harrat Lunayyir dike intrusion in Saudi Arabia: insights from InSAR, stress calculations and analog experiments. Journal of Geophysical Research, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JB012505.
Yew, C. H., Weng, X., 2014. Mechanics of Hydraulic Fracturing, 2nd edn. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing.