An experimental investigation of sill formation and propagation in layered elastic media

Janine Kavanagh, Thierry Menand, Stephen Sparks

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A series of experiments are described where dyed water (a magma analogue) was intruded into solid gelatine (a crustal analogue) to investigate the formation of sills. We considered a layered gelatine system with contrasting adjacent layers. By varying the density and rigidity of the gelatine we found that experimental sills form when the upper layer is more rigid than the lower layer, with intrusion occurring in a plane directly below the interface. Experimental dykes were observed to propagate to the surface when the Young s Modulus ratio of upper to lower gelatine layers was less than one. Experimental dyke arrest occurred when the upper layer was more rigid and the interface was strong. Two varieties of experimental sill formed when the upper layer was more rigid than the lower layer and the interface was sufficiently weak. The form of the intrusion depends on the balance of driving pressures and the Young s Modulus ratio of contrasting adjacent layers. When the rigidity ratio is high and there is a large driving pressure the experimental feeder dyke completely converts to propagate as a sill. However, when the rigidity ratio and driving pressure are both close to one a dyke-sill hybrid forms. Under these conditions the experimental sill formation is accompanied by contemporaneous dyke intrusion into the overlying more rigid layer. During sill propagation deformation structures such as faults and en echelon fractures are formed into the lower layer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799 - 813
Number of pages15
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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