We present new viscosity measurements of a synthetic silicate system considered an analogue for the lava erupted on the surface of Mercury. In particular, we focus on the northern volcanic plains (NVP), which correspond to the largest lava flows on Mercury and possibly in the Solar System. High-temperature viscosity measurements were performed at both superliquidus (up to 1736 K) and subliquidus conditions (1569–1502 K) to constrain the viscosity variations as a function of crystallinity (from 0 to 28%) and shear rate (from 0.1 to 5 s-1). Melt viscosity shows moderate variations (4 –16 Pa s) in the temperature range 1736–1600 K. Experiments performed below the liquidus temperature show an increase in viscosity as shear rate increases from 0.1 to 5 s-1, resulting in a shear thinning behaviour, with a decrease in viscosity of ca. 1 log unit. The low viscosity of the studied composition may explain the ability of NVP lavas to cover long distances, on the order of hundreds of kilometres in a turbulent flow regime. Using our experimental data we estimate that lava flows with thickness of 1, 5 and 10 m are likely to have velocities of 4.8, 6.5 and 7.2 m/s respectively, on a 5° ground slope. Numerical modelling incorporating both the heat loss of the lavas and its possible crystallization during emplacement allows us to infer that high effusion rates (> 10000 m3/s) are necessary to cover the large distances indicated by satellite data from the MESSENGER spacecraft.

Experimental constraints on the rheology, eruption and emplacement dynamics of analog lavas comparable to Mercury's northern volcanic plains

Vetere, Francesco Pasqualino
;
ROSSI, STEFANO;Morgavi, Daniele;MANCINELLI, PAOLO;PETRELLI, MAURIZIO;PAUSELLI, Cristina;PERUGINI, Diego
2017-01-01

Abstract

We present new viscosity measurements of a synthetic silicate system considered an analogue for the lava erupted on the surface of Mercury. In particular, we focus on the northern volcanic plains (NVP), which correspond to the largest lava flows on Mercury and possibly in the Solar System. High-temperature viscosity measurements were performed at both superliquidus (up to 1736 K) and subliquidus conditions (1569–1502 K) to constrain the viscosity variations as a function of crystallinity (from 0 to 28%) and shear rate (from 0.1 to 5 s-1). Melt viscosity shows moderate variations (4 –16 Pa s) in the temperature range 1736–1600 K. Experiments performed below the liquidus temperature show an increase in viscosity as shear rate increases from 0.1 to 5 s-1, resulting in a shear thinning behaviour, with a decrease in viscosity of ca. 1 log unit. The low viscosity of the studied composition may explain the ability of NVP lavas to cover long distances, on the order of hundreds of kilometres in a turbulent flow regime. Using our experimental data we estimate that lava flows with thickness of 1, 5 and 10 m are likely to have velocities of 4.8, 6.5 and 7.2 m/s respectively, on a 5° ground slope. Numerical modelling incorporating both the heat loss of the lavas and its possible crystallization during emplacement allows us to infer that high effusion rates (> 10000 m3/s) are necessary to cover the large distances indicated by satellite data from the MESSENGER spacecraft.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Vetere et al JGR-Planets Text RRR.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia di allegato: Post-print
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 1.84 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.84 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1415659
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 26
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 22
social impact