05 August, 2016
A new Nature Communications paper is out from the CDI group focusing on the recent Bárðarbunga rifting event in central Iceland. The study was led by Joel Ruch with contributions from CDI group members Teng Wang, Wenbin Xu and Sigurjón Jónsson as well as from Martin Hensch at the Icelandic Meteorological Office in Reykjavik. The title of the paper is "Oblique rift opening revealed by reoccurring magma injection in central Iceland". In the paper, Joel Ruch and colleageus report on the near-field deformation observed at a graben that was reactivated during the rifting event. The deformation was extracted using a pixel-offset tracking technique (developed by Teng Wang) on satellite radar images acquired by the COSMO-SkyMed and TerraSAR-X satellites. What the group found was that the rift-opening was oblique, i.e. not only opening othogonal to the graben, but also a significant amount shear across the graben. This indicates that crustal stresses are not alone in controlling the pathways migrating magma takes in the crust and that pre-existing fractures may significantly influence the migration path along weaknesses within the crust.