Coupled Models of Lithospheric Flexure and Magma Chamber Pressurization at Large Volcanoes on Venus

G. Galgana[1], P. McGovern[2], and E. Grosfils[2]

[1]Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas, USA
[2]Pomona College, Claremont, California, USA

We present an implementation of the Structural Mechanics module of COMSOL Multiphysics to model the state of stress associated with the emplacement of large volcanic edifices on the surface of a planet. These finite element models capture two essential physical processes: (1) Elastic flexure of the lithosphere beneath the edifice load, and (2) Pressurization of a magma-filled chamber that serves as the supply source for the lava flows that build the edifice. We demonstrate that the COMSOL model adequately represents the response of an elastic plate to loading by benchmarking against an analytic axisymmetric flexure solution. We present results and preliminary interpretations of model stress states in terms of locations of predicted chamber wall failure and orientations of magma bodies (intrusions) emanating from the failed chamber.

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