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Abstract

Granite emplacement in the brittle crust can be modelled by means of the injection of a Newtonian fluid (low-viscosity silicone putty) into sandpacks. This paper describes dynamically scaled analogue models of granite intrusions in the upper crust under different tectonic regimes. Experiments analyse three boundary conditions: (1) static conditions, with different rheological profiles (single sand-layer system, two-layer silicone-sand system, three-layer sand-silicone-sand system and five-layer sand-silicone-sand-silicone-sand system), (2) extensional regime, including gravitational sliding and divergent basal plate, with both mobile and fixed velocity discontinuities and (3) strike-slip regime, induced by two mobile basal plates. The results obtained indicate that: (1) a soft level between two competent units is necessary for laccolith formation—the critical thickness of the soft layer necessary for laccolith formation decreases with increasing depth, (2) when there are two soft layers in the brittle crust, laccolith emplacement occurs in the deeper soft level, even when this is thin and the overburden does reach its critical thickness, (3) in extensional regimes the geometry of intrusions is mainly controlled by normal faults and at the same time intrusions determine the location of faults within the cover and (4) in strike-slip zones intrusions are elongate and their long axis tends to track the principal stretching direction associated with the strike-slip regime. Some natural examples of granitic bodies were considered to test the applicability of experimental results.

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