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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020

7 - Magma Movement through the Crust: Dike Paths

Summary

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.

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