To effectively investigate the variable observations of sheeted dike complex behavior, within the pacific mid ocean ridge environment, a computational approach utilizing a magmastatic model for dike propagation was conducted so that dike behavior and eruptibility could better be described. In doing so, the dike propagation model was manipulated so that rheological dike parameters such as, contrast in density between magma and host rock above and below the crustal density interface of layer 2A (low density extrusive unit resulting from on axis eruption) and 2B (high density sheeted dike unit emplaced within subsurface), dike width, and sheeted dike length (relative distance from axial magma chamber), could be incorporated, so that rheological propagation distances through the antagonistic low density layer 2A crustal unit be projected numerically. In doing so, this study was able to confirm a number of proposed hypotheses and reported observations originating from a wide range of past case studies. A few examples of the depicted confirmations include: magma density’s inverse correlation to dike propagation and eruptibility, dike width’s inverse correlation with dike eruptibility, and the concept that all dikes can erupt any corresponding magma density under any crustal density contrast conditions given appropriate dike dimensions. While it is important to note that the rheological investigation was able to support a large number of past observations regarding dike characteristics, it is necessary to also highlight the fact that the computational exploration of dike behavior was able to successfully result in a better corroboration for sheeted dike complex behavior, identifying spreading rate as the source for all sheeted dike behavior. Furthermore, the story of dike propagation and eruptibility including the dike complex specific behaviors correlating to Hess Deep, Hole 1256D, and Blanco Transform Zone, all exhibiting highly variable and notably complex activity, was able to be adequately be told, which can be attributed to revelations conceived by the rheological application of the dike propagation model.


Pollock, Meagen





Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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