Cooling-dominated cracking in thermally stressed volcanic rocks

John Browning, Philip Meredith, Agust Gudmundsson

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Most studies of thermally-induced cracking in rocks have focused on the generation of cracks formed during heating and thermal expansion. Both the nature and mechanism of crack formation during cooling are hypothesised to be different from those formed during heating. We present in-situ acoustic emission data recorded as a proxy for crack damage evolution in a series of heating and cooling experiments on samples of basalt and dacite. The results show that both the rate and energy of acoustic emission are consistently much higher during cooling than during heating. Seismic velocity comparisons and crack morphology analysis of our heated and cooled samples support the contemporaneous acoustic emission data and also indicate that thermal cracking is largely isotropic. These new data are important for assessing the contribution of cooling-induced damage within volcanic structures and layers such as dikes, sills, and lava flows.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8417-8425
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
Early online date29 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2016

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