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The process by which magma ascends into and deforms a volcanic edifice is studied by analogue modelling. A control experiment is conducted with a wooden piston moving vertically into a sand cone. This reveals a well-defined fault pattern that makes it possible to draw the main compressive stress trajectory within the cone during the ascent of the piston. This makes it possible to show that the deformational process is that of indentation of the cone by the rigid piston. Experiments with an indenter that is viscous, as in nature, show that the motion of the viscous body is controlled...

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