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Mafic injection as a trigger for felsic magmatism – a numerical study

, : Mafic injection as a trigger for felsic magmatism – a numerical study. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

The origin of crustal-scale silicic magmatism remains a matter of debate, and notable uncertainty exists concerning the physical mechanisms that drive ascent and emplacement of felsic magmas in upper crustal regions. A 2D numerical model demonstrates that injection of mantle-derived mafic magma into a partially molten hot zone in the lower crust can drive felsic magma ascent and intrusion into upper crustal levels. The injection of mafic magma induces over pressure in the reservoir, which increases crustal stresses and triggers development of brittle/plastic shear zones, and can drive significant surface uplift. The emerging topography causes a non-uniform over pressure distribution in the reservoir and can trigger felsic magma ascent along crustal shear zones. Based on systematic numerical experiments we investigate the influence of crustal strength and injection rate. The initial upper crustal strength controls the degree of crustal faulting and surface uplift and, therefore, whether felsic magma ascent can be initiated or not. The final upper crustal strength influences the depth and final style of felsic intrusion. The injection rate of mafic magma determines the time scale of overpressure growth and surface uplift stage. In contrast, the duration of the subsequent felsic ascent and intrusion emplacement stages remains nearly constant. Our results imply that mafic underplating and intrusion into the lower crust may not only be a prime control for the generation of felsic magmas in the lower crust, but may also be an important physical driving mechanism for felsic magma ascent and intrusion into upper crustal levels.


DOI: 10.1002/ggge.20124

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