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The permeability of loose magma mush

Bretagne, Eloïse; Wadsworth, Fabian B.; Vasseur, Jérémie; Humphreys, Madeleine C.S.; Dingwell, Donald B.; Dobson, Katherine J.; Mangler, Martin F.; Rooyakkers, Shane M.

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Jérémie Vasseur

Donald B. Dingwell

Katherine J. Dobson

Shane M. Rooyakkers


Models for the evolution of magma mush zones are of fundamental importance for understanding magma storage, differentiation in the crust, and melt extraction processes that prime eruptions. These models require calculations of the permeability of the evolving crystal frameworks in the mush, which influences the rate of melt movement relative to crystals. Existing approaches for estimating the crystal framework permeability do not account for crystal shape. Here, we represent magma mush crystal frameworks as packs of hard cuboids with a range of aspect ratios, all at their maximum random packing. We use numerical fluid flow simulation tools to determine the melt fraction, specific surface area, and permeability of our three-dimensional digital samples. We find that crystal shape exerts a first-order control both on the melt fraction at maximum packing and on the permeability. We use these new data to generalize a Kozeny-Carman model in order to propose a simple constitutive law for the scaling between permeability and melt fraction that accounts for crystal shape in upscaled mush dynamics simulations. Our results show that magma mush permeability calculated using a model that accounts for crystal shape is significantly different compared with models that make a spherical crystal approximation, with key implications for crustal melt segregation flux and reactive flow.


Bretagne, E., Wadsworth, F. B., Vasseur, J., Humphreys, M. C., Dingwell, D. B., Dobson, K. J., …Rooyakkers, S. M. (2023). The permeability of loose magma mush. Geology, 51(9), 829-832.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 4, 2023
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2023
Publication Date Sep 1, 2023
Deposit Date Sep 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date Sep 25, 2023
Journal Geology
Print ISSN 0091-7613
Electronic ISSN 1943-2682
Publisher Geological Society of America
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 9
Pages 829-832
Public URL


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