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Some lava flows may not have been as thick as they appear

Katona, Jonas and Fu, Xiaojing and Mittal, Tushar and Manga, Michael and Self, Stephen (2021) Some lava flows may not have been as thick as they appear. . (Unpublished)

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Individual lava flows in flood basalt provinces are composed of sheet pāhoehoe lobes and the 10-100 m thick lobes are thought to form by inflation. Quantifying the emplacement history of these lobes can help infer the magnitude and temporal dynamics of these prehistoric eruptions. Here we use a phase-field model to describe solidification and remelting of sequentially-emplaced lava flows to explore additional processes that may lead to thick flows. We calibrate model parameters using field measurements at Makaopuhi lava lake. We vary the thickness of individual flows and the time interval between eruptions to study the interplay between thermal evolution, flow thickness, and emplacement frequency. Our theoretical analysis shows that if the time between emplacement is sufficiently short, reheating and remelting may merge sequentially emplaced flows --- making flows appear thicker than they actually were. Our results suggest that fused flows could be another mechanism that creates apparently thick lava flows.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemAll relevant simulation data, movies, figures, and codes
Katona, Jonas0000-0002-2127-8912
Fu, Xiaojing0000-0001-7120-704X
Mittal, Tushar0000-0002-8026-0018
Manga, Michael0000-0003-3286-4682
Self, Stephen0000-0002-8081-3532
Additional Information:License: Attribution 4.0 International. X.F. acknowledges the support of the Miller Fellowship. S.S. would like to acknowledge the support of D. Basu, K. Das, and the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses for carrying out an earlier version of this study. M.M., S.S., and T.M. were supported by NSF 1615203. T.M. acknowledges funding support from the Crosby Postdoc Fellowship at MIT. All relevant simulation data, movies, figures, and codes can be found at In particular, all data files are contained in, all codes can be found in the folder finalcodes, all relevant figures from this paper can be found in the folder final figures, and all movies (plus some extra movies) can be found in the folder movies.
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Miller Institute for Basic Research in ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210524-113358406
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109237
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:24 May 2021 20:58
Last Modified:04 Aug 2021 19:35

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