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Joint inversion of tectonic stress and magma pressures using dyke trajectories

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2022

F. Maerten*
YouWol, Le Lancaster, 455 rue Alfred Sauvy, Pérols 34470, France
L. Maerten
YouWol, Le Lancaster, 455 rue Alfred Sauvy, Pérols 34470, France
R. Plateaux
Open Plateau Ltd, F14-3, N57, Fuxing North Road, Songshan District Taipei City 105, Taipei, Taiwan
P. H. Cornard
Department of Geology, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, Innsbruck, Austria
Author for correspondence: Frantz Maerten, Email:


In volcano-tectonic regions, dyke propagation from shallow magmatic chambers is often controlled by the interaction of the local and regional stress fields. The variations of the stress fields result from a combination of factors including the regional tectonic stress, the geometry of pressurized magma chambers, the layering and the pre-existing discontinuities (e.g. fractures). In this contribution, we describe and apply a new multiparametric inversion technique based on geomechanics that can invert for both the far field stress attributes and the internal pressure of magma chambers or stocks, constrained by observed dyke or eruptive fissure orientations. This technique is based on the superposition principle and uses linear elastic models that can be solved using many types of numerical methods. For practical reasons, we chose a 3D boundary element method (BEM) for a heterogeneous elastic half-space, where magma chambers are modelled as pressurized cavities. To verify this approach, the BEM solution has been validated against the known 3D analytical solution of a pressurized cylindrical cavity. Then the effectiveness of this technique and its practical use is demonstrated through application to natural examples of dyke network development around two different volcanic systems, the Spanish Peaks (USA) and the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador). Results demonstrate that regional stress characteristics as well as the internal pressure of magma chambers can be estimated from observed radial and circumferential dyke patterns and some knowledge of magma chamber geometry.

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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