Magma-Driven Multiple Dike Propagation and Fracture Toughness of Crustal Rocks
Dike swarms consisting of tens to thousands of subparallel dikes are commonly observed at Earth's surface, raising the possibility of simultaneous propagation of two or more dikes at various stages of a swarm's development. The behavior of multiple propagating dikes differs from that of a single dike owing to the interacting stress fields associated with each dike. We analyze an array of parallel, periodically spaced dikes that grow simultaneously from an overpressured source into a semi-infinite, linear elastic host rock. To simplify the analysis, we assume steady state (constant velocity) magma flow and dike propagation. We use a perturbation method to analyze the coupled, nonlinear problem of multiple dike propagation and magma transport. The stress intensity factor at the dike tips and the opening displacements of the dike surfaces are calculated. The numerical results show that dike spacing has a profound effect on the behavior of dike propagation. The stress intensity factors at the tips of parallel dikes decrease with a decrease in dike spacing and are significantly smaller than that for a single dike with the same length. The reduced stress intensity factor indicates that, compared to a single dike, propagation of parallel dikes is more likely to be arrested under otherwise the same conditions. It also implies that fracture toughness of the host rock in a high confining pressure environment may not be as high as inferred from the propagation of a single dike. Our numerical results suggest fracture toughness values on the order of 100 MPa root m. The opening displacements for parallel dikes are smaller than that for a single dike, which results in higher magma pressure gradients in parallel dikes and lower flux of magma transport.
Z.-H. Jin and Scott E. Johnson. "Magma-Driven Multiple Dike Propagation and Fracture Toughness of Crustal Rocks" Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth 113 (2008).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/scott_johnson/3