- Centrifuge experiments with magmatic systems : from melt segregation to pluton emplacement (2011)
- In this thesis, laboratory investigations have been conducted to investigate several processes occurring during the melt segregation (crystal settling and compaction processes), as well as during emplacement of plutons. With the help of three different sets of centrifuge experiments rates of these three magmatic processes have been evaluated. In the first series of the centrifuge experiments, the diapiric ascent of buoyant material from two source layers at different depths was studied. Through five models, the hypothesis of ascending diapirs was tested and it was demonstrated whether a rising diapir ascends straight upward or if its ascent might be deviated by another buoyant, softer – and consequently easier to travel through – layer which is located within the overburden strata. We were interested under which conditions they can be formed. For this purpose we placed perturbations on top of both the buoyant layers; either with a set-off of both the protrusions (for three of these experiments), or with both protrusion sitting directly on top of each other (for one of the experiments). In the first experiment, we omitted the perturbations, to test which pathways diapirs take which grow from natural Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. Three others experiments differed in the viscosity contrast between the overburden and the buoyant material. Through the experimental runs, the effects of different overburden viscosities and perturbation positions on the number of the diapirs were observed. The modeling results show that two diapirs rising from the offset perturbations do not take the same pathway through the overburden layer. Rather, each diapir takes a different pathway, with the deeper diapir piercing through its overburden while rising, regardless if it was a buoyant layer or denser overburden layers. However, when the two perturbations were situated directly above each other in the different PDMS layers, this resulted in the formation of one big diapir rather than several smaller ones, and the overburden layer was less deformed than with offset perturbations. Diapiric structures as those derived from the models without perturbation and where the perturbation are offset occur within Great Kavir Basin (Iran), where numerous salt diapirs grew from several salt horizons, which show a similar spatial distribution. The resulting structure observed in the model where the two perturbations situated directly above each other, is close to what is observed in composite batholiths such as the Flasergranitoid Zone within the Bergsträßer Odenwald Crystalline Complex (Germany). The second series of models were aimed to study crystal settling within a magma. For this purpose experiments with an artificial magma of 30 vol% olivine in 70 vol% basaltic melt were conducted to elucidate the formation mechanisms and time scales of gravitational cumulates. Through the experiments, two physical processes have been observed: (i) purely mechanical compaction, and (ii) chemical compaction induced by dissolution and re-precipitation of settled crystals. The results reveals that the mechanical settling of the dense olivine suspension occurs at about 1/6 the speed of simple Stokes settling, and a sedimentation exponent n of 4.1 is found. Evidences of chemical compaction induced by dissolution and re-precipitation of settled crystals have been highlighted by a detailed analysis of the fine structure of olivine grain boundaries. This last has revealed (1) the presence of Ca, which is characteristic only for MORB-melt, at the interface of two adjacent Ol-grains even when no melt is present; (2) a not fully crystallized boundary layer between two adjacent olivine grains. The crystal size distribution curves and the grain size growth exponent n ~3.6 indicate that diffusion controlled Ostwald ripening is the dominant crystal growth mechanism in concentrated magmatic suspensions. Finally, the formation times in natural olivine adcumulates have been calculated. The last series of centrifuge experiments deals with the crystal-melt settling-floating mechanism in a system composed of natural two pyroxene gabbro. The results have revealed a vertical evolution of the major and trace elements in the melt phase. Then, a numerical modelling of the sedimentation process of the crystals has been made in order to describe the compaction evolution with time. In comparing the numerical simulation with the centrifuge modelling, the stratification of the compacted layer in the runs is reproduced in numerical models. Moreover, on the base of the numerical and centrifuge modelling, a sedimentation exponent describing a deviation of settling in concentrated suspensions from Stokes sedimentation has been evaluated. Finally, the numerical simulation is applied to the Muskox intrusion to estimate the formation time and the melt fraction evolution in using the hindered sedimentation model calculations.