Abstract

We propose a simple physical model to characterize the dynamics of magma withdrawal during the course of caldera-forming eruptions. Simplification involves considering such eruptions as a piston-like system in which the host rock is assumed to subside as a coherent rigid solid. Magma behaves as a Newtonian incompressible fluid below the exsolution level and as a compressible gas-liquid mixture above this level. We consider caldera-forming eruptions within the frame of fluid-structure interaction problems, in which the flow-governing equations are written using an arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) formulation. We propose a numerical procedure to solve the ALE governing equations in the context of a finite element method. The numerical methodology is based on a staggered algorithm in which the flow and the structural equations are alternatively integrated in time by using separate solvers. The procedure also involves the use of the quasi-Laplacian method to compute the ALE mesh of the fluid and a new conservative remeshing strategy. Despite the fact that we focus the application of the procedure toward modeling caldera-forming eruptions, the numerical procedure is of general applicability. The numerical results have important geological implications in terms of magma chamber dynamics during explosive caldera-forming eruptions. Simulations predict a nearly constant velocity of caldera subsidence that strongly depends on magma viscosity. They also reproduce the characteristic eruption rates of the different phases of an explosive calderaforming eruption. Numerical results indicate that the formation of vortices beneath the ring fault, which may allow mingling and mixing of parcels of magma initially located at different depths in the chamber, is likely to occur for low-viscosity magmas. Numerical results confirm that exsolution of volatiles is an efficient mechanism to sustain explosive caldera-forming eruptions and to explain the formation of large volumes of ignimbrites.

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Published on 02/09/19

DOI: 10.1029/2001JB000181
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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