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Journal of Geophysical Research

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Submarine volcanoes -- Mathematical models, Lava -- Effect of seawater on, Volcanism -- Research


The results of recent laboratory experiments with wax extruded beneath relatively cold water may be extrapolated to predict the surface morphology of submarine lavas as a function of the extrusion rate and melt vIscosity. The experiments with solidifying wax indicated that the surface morphology was controlled by a single parameter, the ratio of the time taken for the surface to solidify, and a time scale for lateral flow. For submarine basalts a solution of the cooling problem (which is dominated by conduction in the lava but convective heat transfer in the water) and estimates of lava viscosities place this parameter within the empirically determined "pillowing" regime over a Wide range of extrusion rates. This result is consistent with the observation that pillow basalts are the most common products of submarine eruptions. Smoother surfaces corresponding to the various types .of submarine sheet flows are predicted for sufficiently rapid extrusions of basaltic magma. Still higher eruption rates ID regions of low topographic relief may produce submarine lava lakes. Minimum emplacement times can be calculated for submarine volocanic constructs of a single lava flow type.


This is the publisher's final pdf. Originally published in: Journal of Geophysical Research ( and is copyrighted by American Geophysical Union (

*At the time of publication Jonathan Fink was affiliated with Arizona State University

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