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Taylor Instability in Ryholite Lava Flows
Journal of Geophysical Research
  • B. A. Baum, Arizona State University
  • W. B. Krantz, Arizona State University
  • Jonathan H. Fink, Portland State University
  • R. E. Dickinson, Arizona State University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Volcanology -- Research,
  • Lava flows,
  • Rhyolite
A refined Taylor instability model is developed to describe the surface morphology of rhyolite lava flows. The effect of the downslope flow of the lava on the structures resulting from the Taylor instability mechanism is considered. Squire's (1933) transformation is developed for this flow in order to extend the results to three-dimensional modes. This permits assessing why ridges thought to arise from the Taylor instability mechanism are preferentially oriented transverse to the direction of lava flow. Measured diapir and ridge spacings for the Little and Big Glass Mountain rhyolite flows in northern California are used in conjunction with the model in order to explore the implications of the Taylor instability for flow emplacement. The model suggests additional lava flow features that can be measured in order to test whether the Taylor instability mechanism has influenced the flow's surface morphology.

This is the publisher's final pdf. Originally published in Journal of Geophysical Research ( and is copyrighted by American Geophysical Union (

*At the time of publication Jonathan Fink was affiliated with Arizona State University

Persistent Identifier
Citation Information
Baum, B. A., Krantz, W. B., Fink, J. H., & Dickinson, R. E. (1989). Taylor instability in rhyolite lava flows. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012), 94(B5), 5815-5828.