Deciphering viscous flow of frictional melts with the mini-AMS method

Eric C. Ferré*, Yu Min Chou, Ruo Lin Kuo, En Chao Yeh, Natalie R. Leibovitz, Andrea L. Meado, Lucy Campbell, John W. Geissman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) is widely used to analyze magmatic flow in intrusive igneous bodies including plutons, sills and dikes. This method, owing its success to the rapid nature of measurements, provides a proxy for the orientation of markers with shape anisotropy that flow and align in a viscous medium. AMS specimens typically are 25 mm diameter right cylinders or 20 mm on-a-side cubes, representing a volume deemed statistically representative. Here, we present new AMS results, based on significantly smaller cubic specimens, which are 3.5 mm on a side, hence∼250 times volumetrically smaller than conventional specimens. We show that, in the case of frictional melts, which inherently have an extremely small grain size, this small volume is in most cases sufficient to characterize the pseudotachylyte fabric, particularly when magnetite is present. Further, we demonstrate that the mini-AMS method provides new opportunities to investigate the details of frictional melt flow in these coseismic miniature melt bodies. This new method offers significant potential to investigate frictional melt flow in pseudotachylyte veins including contributions to the lubrication of faults at shallow to moderate depths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1


  • Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility
  • Fabric
  • Fault
  • Frictional melt
  • Magma flow
  • Pseudotachylyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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