Origins of blade-like dikes in volcanic rift zones.

A. M. Rubin, D. D. Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Seismic and geodetic data have demonstrated that dikes in the rift zones of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii and Krafla Volcano in Iceland are typically intruded laterally from a central magma reservoir and acquire a blade-like form. A remarkable feature of many such dikes is that they propagate at shallow depths for 10s of km without erupting. Using concepts of fracture mechanics, we can specify the conditions necessary for this type of growth. A dike will propagate if the stress-intensity factor at the dike tip exceeds a critical value, known as the fracture toughness of the host rock. An increase in the rift-zone fracture toughness with depth could limit the depth to which dikes extend, but little existing evidence supports this possibility. We find that several geological processes could contribute to a distribution of the stress-intensity factor along the dike perimeter that would promote the development of a blade-like form.-from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1470
Number of pages22
JournalUS Geological Survey Professional Paper
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geology


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