Dikes and sills are large sheet-like intrusions transporting and storing magma in the Earth’s crust. When propagating, they generate seismicity and deformation and may lead to volcanic eruption. The physics of magma-filled structures is similar to that of any fluid-filled reservoir, such as oil fields and CO2 reservoirs created by sequestration. This project aims to address old and new unresolved challenging questions related to dike propagation, sill emplacement and in general to the dynamics of fluid and gas-filled reservoirs. I propose to focus on crustal deformation, induced seismicity and external stress fields to study the signals dikes and sills produce, how they grow and why they reactivate after years of non-detected activity. I will combine experimental, numerical and analytical techniques, in close cooperation with volcano observatories providing us with the data necessary to validate our models. In the lab, I will simulate magma propagation injecting fluid into solidified gelatin. I will also contribute to a project, currently under evaluation, on the monitoring of a CO2 sequestration site. At the same time, I will address theoretical aspects, extending static models to dynamic cases and eventually developing a comprehensive picture of the multi faceted interaction between external stress field, magma and rock properties, crustal deformation and seismicity. I also plan, besides presenting my team’s work in the major national and international geophysical conferences, to produce, with technical support from the media services of DKRZ (Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum), an audiovisual teaching DVD illustrating scientific advances and unresolved issues in magma dynamics, in the prediction of eruptive activity and in the physics of reservoirs.
Start Date: 01.07.2010 End Date: 30.06.2015 EU Contribution: 1.5 Mio. Euro Total Costs: 1.5 Mio. Euro Funding Scheme: ERC Starting Grant 2009