News from the Chair

Grant Block Publishes Geophysical Research Paper

Grant Block at the 2023 Enchanted Eclipse viewing party at Johnson FieldPhysics and Astronomy graduate student Grant Block and Professor Mousumi Roy, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, have a paper Pressurizing magma within heterogeneous crust: a case study at the Socorro Magma Body, New Mexico, USA, accepted to the Geophysical Research Letters.  Grant Block is the first author.

This paper explains how magma in the crust is transported and stored within magma bodies (regions that are mostly liquid magma) and "mush" (mostly solid crystals and some liquid magma). Mush zones are thought to be too viscous to be erupted but are likely to be weaker than the surrounding rock.

Surface deformation at the Socorro Magma Body (SMB) helps us study magma-mush interaction, especially in the middle or lower crust.

Previous surface deformation measurements at the SMB show "sombrero" deformation: a central area of uplift surrounded by a ring of subsidence.

New satellite radar measurements are consistent with the previously reported pattern, confirming that this deformation remained remarkably constant through nearly 100 years.

Block and Roy suggest this is due to a large weak, mush region surrounding the SMB. Their computer models reproduce a long-lasting, consistent sombrero deformation pattern depending on mush properties as well as pressurization history of the magma body, and the authors suggest these factors may explain why this pattern is relatively rare.

See the Roy Lab website for more information about Geophysics


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