Douglas, M. M., A. Geyer, A. M. Álvarez-Valero, and J. Martí Modeling magmatic accumulations in the upper crust: Metamorphic implications for the country rock, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.03.008.
Field exposures of magma chambers tend to reveal contact metamorphic aureoles in the surrounding crust, which width varies from few centimeters to kilometers. The igneous accumulation not only increases the temperature around it, but also weaks its surrounding country rock beyond the brittle-ductile transition temperature. The formation of a ductile halo around the magmatic reservoir may significantly impact into the stability and growth of the magma chamber, as well as into potential dyke injections and processes of ground deformation. In this paper, we examine how a magmatic accumulation affects the country rock through the combination of petrologic and thermal perspectives. For this, we numerically modelled (i) the conductive cooling of an instantaneously emplaced magma chamber within compositionally representative pelitic and carbonate upper crusts, and (ii) the corresponding changes in the viscosity of the host rock potentially leading to ductile regimes. We consider basaltic to rhyolitic magma chambers at different depths with oblate, prolate and spherical geometries. The resulting temperature field distribution at different time steps is integrated with crustal metamorphic effects through phase diagram modeling. Our results indicate that the geometry of the magma accumulations play a dominant role in controlling the local metamorphic and thermal effects on the country rocks. They conclude that (i) the combination of relatively simple geothermal models with petrologic datasets can generate first order predictions for the maximum metamorphic grade and geometry of magma chamber aureoles; (ii) the possible changes in the mechanical properties of the country rock are not necessarily linked to the petrological changes in contact aureoles; and (iii) the present rheologic outcomes may be used in further studies of magma chamber stability and integrity, which may favor the understanding of the melt transfer throughout the crust.