Reconstruction and visualisation of melt topology in veined microdioritic enclaves

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A number of xenocrystic microdioritic enclaves within the Ross of Mull Granite contain narrow veins of monzonitic material that have formed through the selective partial fusion of granitic magma mechanically incorporated into the microdiorite magma. Field evidence suggests that, as melting of the granitic material ensued, a monzonitic melt formed and exfiltrated from the surrounding microdioritic matrix resulting in Saffman-Taylor instabilities and the development of viscous fingering phenomena. The monzonitic melt network is now preserved as monzonitic veins. Mechanical serial sectioning through a representative veined microdioritic enclave shows that: (a) the topology of the veins is complex but crudely polyhedral, (b) there is porosity (monzonitic melt fraction) variation throughout the length of the veined enclave and (c) that the monzonitic veins are interconnected in three dimensions. Using image analysis software, the total porosity of individual veined enclave sections has been estimated, along with the variation in porosity with depth. Three dimensional rendering and animation software has been used to reconstruct and visualise the monzonitic melt network using Apple QuickTime™ software. The above method provides a cheap and powerful way of visualising remnant macroscopic transport properties (such as connectivity and melt topology) in partially molten igneous rocks.




Pugliese, S., & Petford, N. (2001). Reconstruction and visualisation of melt topology in veined microdioritic enclaves. Electronic Geosciences, 6.

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