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Flow in an experimental micro–magma chamber

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Abstract

The chemical evolution and eruptive behavior of magmas may be controlled largely by convective processes within magma chambers. According to a recent National Research Council Report [Committee on Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials, 1987], “the style of convection itself, whether it is turbulent, laminar, large-scale, of multiple scales, tiered, or localized and intermittent, is very much at question.” In the U.S. National Report to the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, Marsh [1987] reviewed recent theoretical and experimental developments related to the style of convection in magma chambers, noting both significant quantitative advances and also the many remaining uncertainties. With regard to double-diffusive convection, he stated “as ever, the critical question concerns whether or not actual magma chambers convect in this style.” Similarly, Spera et al. [1986] , in discussion of double-diffusive convection, cautioned against “applying results from saltwater tanks to magma chambers.”

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