Numerical Modelling of Melt Segregation Within and Around Sill Intrusions

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Title: Numerical Modelling of Melt Segregation Within and Around Sill Intrusions
Authors: Solano, James
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: The continental crust has an observed stratification from mafic lower crust to granitic shallow crust. How this stratification arises is one of the key unanswered questions in igneous petrology. For this thesis a general coupled model of heat and mass transport during buoyancy driven melt segregation has been developed and employed to simulate the intrusion and subsequent evolution of sills in regions termed deep crustal hot zones. A system of governing equations describing the conservation of heat, mass and momentum in a two phase media undergoing buoyancy driven melt segregation has been developed. Suitable numerical methods have been employed to solve the governing equations and a computer code developed for their solution. As sills are emplaced into the crust they cool and crystallise with the release of latent heat warming and then melting the surrounding country rock. It is shown that contributions from both the crust and intrusion are significant. Subsequent melt migration leads to the development of high melt fraction layers able to fluidise and form mobile magmas in geologically short time periods. The model can predict temperature and melt fraction of these mobile magmas and from this the composition can be inferred. Low temperature, evolved magmas are shown to develop which are able to leave the hot zone and ascend to the shallow crust, driving crustal stratification. The model is then extended to discuss the transport of major components during melt migration and applied to several geologically significant systems. Binary systems have been chosen due to their relative simplicity and the importance of several two component phase diagrams in igneous systems. Mixing in a heterogeneous crust is shown to lead to previously unobserved effects such as the formation of mobile magmas at the interface between compositionally distinct layers. Finally trace element transport during melt migration is investigated for both compatible and incompatible elements. Large deviations from the current paradigms of trace element fractionation are observed when the migration of species is modelled explicitly. This thesis shows that melt migration is an important process in geological systems and is a major influence during the formation of mobile magmas and their resultant temperature, composition and trace element concentration.
Issue Date: Jul-2011
Date Awarded: Aug-2011
Supervisor: Jackson, Matthew
Blundy, Jon
Sparks, Steve
Author: Solano, James
Department: Earth Science and Engineering
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Earth Science and Engineering PhD theses

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