Project Overview

Our research group is focused on understanding the movement of magma in the upper crust. Such movement is commonly in the form of a dyke, a sheet of magma that migrates through the crust by continually cracking the crust at the upper end.

A key force allowing dykes to propagate is the buoyancy of the magma, in which relatively-less-dense magma pushes up through the denser crust. More specifically, we are examining how a dike slows down and stops propagating (arrests) and how a dyke accelerates in the vicinity of the surface. This helps us to understand the conditions that can lead to the stalling of a dyke or the occurrence of a volcanic eruption.

Simple “quasi-static” experiments are to be performed, in which a dyke is subjected to a static load and allowed it to evolve into a new static state. Previous experiments have used gravity as the driving force. However, as gravity cannot be turned on and off (thankfully!), we will instead apply a compressive force to one end of the dyke, compressing it and causing it to propagate.

To remove gravity as a factor in propagation, neutrally buoyant liquids will be used to make the dyke. This can be done by introducing a density gradient to the host gelatin and allowing the dyke to propagate laterally at its preferred depth. In order to perform a lateral propagation, a new experimental apparatus will be set up allowing continual examination the conditions for dyke arrest and acceleration while simultaneously benchmarking numerical codes.

In one experiment, a tank is filled with gelatin, which acts similar to the Earth’s crust. Inside the gelatin, a crack filled with oil grows upward towards the surface, which represents magma moving through the crust. A camera in front of the tank tracks what happens inside. An array of cameras positioned above the tank is used to make a 3D model of the surface. As the crack moves up, it begins to affect the surface, which can be measured with these models.

Funding Sources

  • Earth Observatory of Singapore

Project Years

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Meetings & Abstracts

Pansino, S, & Taisne, B., Can a dike “feel” a free surface?, Abstract V43B-3109 presented at 2015 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco California 14-18 Dec.

Related Projects

MUON Tomography at Mayon Volcano, Philippines Toward a Better Understanding of Open-Vent Systems

Mayon volcano is an openly degassing basaltic andesite volcano, located in the Philippines, that pro...
Read Project Details

Dynamics of the deeper part of explosive volcanic systems

One of the most active explosive volcanoes in the world, the Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat, We...
Read Project Details

Using seismic data to track magma transport

With more that one eruption per year on average during the last 30 years, Piton de la Fournaise (La ...
Read Project Details

Volcanic Eruption: Location and Characterization using Infrasound

Infrasounds are atmospheric sounds below the 20 Hz threshold of human hearing. Infrasounds can trave...
Read Project Details

Volcanic ash as a hazard to aviation in Southeast Asia

We use volcano morphology, observed in satellite remote sensing, coupled with eruption data taken fr...
Read Project Details

The Team



Principal Investigator



Adel Emadzadeh, Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University

Lior Kamhaji, Institute of the Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Amotz Agnon, Institute of the Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Subscribe to the EOS Newsletter

Stay in touch with the latest news, events, research, and publications from the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

Email is required

Email is wrong format

You Can Make a Difference

Partner with us to make an impact and create safer, more sustainable societies throughout Southeast Asia.
Make A Gift