Formation of submarine lava channel textures : insights from laboratory simulations
Garry, W. Brent
Gregg, Tracy K. P.
Soule, Samuel A.
Fornari, Daniel J.
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Laboratory simulations using polyethylene glycol (PEG) extruded at a constant rate and temperature into a tank with a uniform basal slope and filled with a cold sucrose solution generate channels that are defined by stationary levees and mobile flow interiors. These laboratory channels consistently display the following surface textures in the channel: smooth, folded, lineated, and chaotic. In the simulations, we can observe specific local conditions including flow rate, position within the channel, and time that combine to develop each texture. The textures in PEG flows form due to relative differences in shear forces between the PEG crust and the underlying liquid wax. Minimal shear forces form smooth crust, whereas folded crust forms when the shear is sufficiently high to cause ductile deformation. Brittle deformation of solid PEG creates a chaotic texture, and lineated crust results from shear forces along the channel-levee margin. We observe similar textures in submarine lava channels with sources at or near the Axial Summit Trough of the East Pacific Rise between 9° and 10°N. We mapped the surface textures of nine submarine lava channels using high-resolution digital images collected during camera tows. These textural maps, along with observations of the formation of similar features in analog flows, reveal important information about the mechanisms occurring across the channel during emplacement, including relative flow velocity and shear stress.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 111 (2006): B03104, doi:10.1029/2005JB003796.
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