Emplacement and segment geometry of large, high-viscosity magmatic sheets

Tobias Schmiedel*, Steffi Burchardt*, Tobias Mattsson, Frank Guldstrand, Olivier Galland, Joaquín Octavio Palma, Henrik Skogby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding magma transport in sheet intrusions is crucial to interpreting volcanic unrest. Studies of dyke emplacement and geometry focus predominantly on low-viscosity, mafic dykes. Here, we present an in-depth study of two high-viscosity dykes (106 Pa·s) in the Chachahuén volcano, Argentina, the Great Dyke and the Sosa Dyke. To quantify dyke geometries, magma flow indicators, and magma viscosity, we combine photogrammetry, microstructural analysis, igneous petrology, Fourier-Transform-Infrared-Spectroscopy, and Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS). Our results show that the dykes consist of 3 to 8 mappable segments up to 2 km long. Segments often end in a bifurcation, and segment tips are predominantly oval, but elliptical tips occur in the outermost segments of the Great Dyke. Furthermore, variations in host rocks have no observable impact on dyke geometry. AMS fabrics and other flow indicators in the Sosa Dyke show lateral magma flow in contrast to the vertical flow suggested by the segment geometries. A comparison with segment geometries of low-viscosity dykes shows that our high-viscosity dykes follow the same geometrical trend. In fact, the data compilation supports that dyke segment and tip geometries reflect different stages in dyke emplacement, questioning the current usage for final sheet geometries as proxies for emplacement mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1113
Number of pages34
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2021


  • Magma transport
  • High-viscosity dykes
  • Shallow crust
  • Igneous
  • Sills
  • Chachahuen volcano
  • Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS)
  • Magma flow indicator


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