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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rheology of porous rhyolite Robert, Geneviève


I describe an experimental apparatus used to perform deformation experiments relevant to volcanology. The apparatus supports low-load, high-temperature deformation experiments under dry and wet conditions on natural and synthetic samples. The experiments recover the transient rheology of complex (melt ± porosity ± solids) volcanic materials during uniaxial deformation. The key component to this apparatus is a steel cell designed for high-temperature deformation experiments under controlled water pressure. Experiments are run under constant displacement rates or constant loads; the range of accessible experimental conditions include: 25 - 1100 °C, load stresses 0 to 150 MPa, strain rates 10⁻⁶ to 10⁻² s⁻¹, and fluid pressures 0-150 MPa. I present a suite of high-temperature, uniaxial deformation experiments performed on 25 by 50 mm unjacketed cores of porous Φ∼0.8) sintered rhyolitic ash. The experiments were performed at, both, atmospheric (dry) and elevated water pressure conditions (wet). Dry experiments were conducted mainly at 900 °C, but also included a suite of lower temperature experiments at 850, 800 and 750 °C. Wet experiments were performed at ∼650 °C under water pressures of 1, 2.5, 3, and 5 MPa, and at a fixed PH2O of ∼2.5 MPa for temperatures of ∼385, 450, and 550 °C. During deformation, strain is manifest by shortening of the cores, reduction of porosity, flattening of ash particles, and radial bulging of the cores. The continuous reduction of porosity leads to a dynamic transient strain-dependent rheology and requires strain to be partitioned between a volume (porosity loss) and a shear (radial bulging) component. The effect of increasing porosity is to expand the window for viscous deformation for dry melts by delaying the onset of brittle deformation by ∼50 °C (875 °C to 825 °C). The effect is more pronounced in hydrous melts (∼0.67 — 0.78 wt. % H₂0) where the viscous to brittle transition is depressed by ∼140 to 150 °C. Increasing water pressure also delays the onset of strain hardening due to compaction-driven porosity reduction. These rheological data are pertinent to volcanic processes where high-temperature porous magmas I liquids are encountered (e.g., magma flow in conduits, welding of pyroclastic materials).

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