Fluid Dynamics of Magma Reservoirs

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Earth Science and Engineering


For over a century, the chemical evolution of igneous rocks was explained by the concept of a large, liquid-rich magma chamber. However, geophysical surveys have been unable to identify these large chambers beneath active volcanoes. Furthermore, the thermal models and chemical data from these surveys, instead suggest that the magma spends most of its life as a liquid-poor 'mush' (a pile of crystals with liquid present in the pore spaces) and that the traditional idea of a magma chamber is, at most, a short-lived feature. Therefore, the problem now is to understand the fluid dynamics of these magma reservoirs and to answer questions which are fundamental to understand why and when magma is delivered to volcanoes. Hence, the aim of this project is to investigate and model the fluid dynamics of magma reservoirs with the goal of answering questions that are vital to our understanding of volcanic processes. This will be done through the development of novel methods created for other computational fluid dynamical applications. The created models shall then be tested and calibrated against data collected from that of ancient magma reservoirs which are now exposed at the surface and modern magma reservoirs such as the magma reservoir seen below Mount St. Helens.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2022
1950977 Studentship EP/N509486/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Catherine Ann Booth