EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The effect of anisotropic vesiculation on the porous-permeable evolution in magmatic foams

Jenny Schauroth, Joshua Weaver, Jackie E. Kendrick, Anthony Lamur, and Yan Lavallée
Jenny Schauroth et al.
  • University of Liverpool, Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, Liverpool, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (

Volcanoes can undergo rapid transitions between effusive and explosive eruptions that are often dependant on the melt’s ability to devolatilise and outgas. Eruptive products show widely contrasting permeability values for a given porosity owing to the fact that magma properties evolve over time and space, hence porosity and permeability vary depending on transport and deformation history, scale and orientation. The vesicularity that enables bubble coalescence and permeability development, termed the percolation threshold, is experimentally determined to be at ~30-80 %, depending on the microstructure of magma (i.e. bubble size and shape distribution, crystal content, dominant mode of rheological deformation during vesiculation and flow). During ascent of magma pressure decreases and the magma adapts to these new conditions by vesiculating and expanding against wall rocks. Friction between the vesicular magma and the conduit wall encourages shear, which modifies the architecture of the vesicular network. The geometrical constriction associated with conduits, dykes or fractures which host magma thus prevents or limits the isotropic growth of vesicles; we hypothesise that geometrical constraints instead lead to different ratios of isotropic to anisotropic expansion, which impacts vesicle coalescence and the onset and development of permeable gas flow in magma. We present experimental results detailing the impact of constricting geometry on the development of a permeable porous network, by combining various diameter basalt crucibles with different sized cylindrical cores of aphyric rhyolitic glass (0.12 wt.% H2O). We vesiculate the samples in a furnace at 1009 °C for different isothermal dwell increments, before cooling our sample assembly and determining porosity, strain and gas permeability. The vesiculated rhyolites host an impervious glass rind (due to near-surface bubble resorption via diffusion) surrounding a vesicular core; as such, we measure gas permeability of the assembly after cutting the upper and lower glassy rind, to expose the permeability of the internal porous network developed experimentally. The findings indicate that increasing anisotropy, caused by minimising the extent of isotropic vesiculation and maximising vesiculation under constricted conditions, lowers the porosity at which the percolation threshold occurs by ~30 %. We postulate that pure and simple shear, developed parallel to the constricting walls, increase bubble aspect ratios and enhance coalescence. This suggests magmatic foams form connected networks at lower porosities when they vesiculate in constricted conduits, dykes and fractures, thus impacting outgassing efficiency. This implies that the physico-chemical evolution of vesiculating magma may be more strongly linked to structural and rheological controls than previously anticipated, with important implications on ascending magma evolution and eruptive processes, such as degassing, outgassing and fragmentation.

How to cite: Schauroth, J., Weaver, J., Kendrick, J. E., Lamur, A., and Lavallée, Y.: The effect of anisotropic vesiculation on the porous-permeable evolution in magmatic foams, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3018,, 2021.

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