Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Simon Carn


The study of volcano deformation data can provide information on magma processes and help assess the potential for future eruptions. In employing inverse deformation modeling on these data, we attempt to characterize the geometry, location and volume/pressure change of a deformation source. Techniques currently used to model sheet intrusions (e.g., dikes and sills) often require significant a priori assumptions about source geometry and can require testing a large number of parameters. Moreover, surface deformations are a non-linear function of the source geometry and location. This requires the use of Monte Carlo inversion techniques which leads to long computation times. Recently, ‘displacement tomography’ models have been used to characterize magma reservoirs by inverting source deformation data for volume changes using a grid of point sources in the subsurface. The computations involved in these models are less intensive as no assumptions are made on the source geometry and location, and the relationship between the point sources and the surface deformation is linear. In this project, seeking a less computationally intensive technique for fracture sources, we tested if this displacement tomography method for reservoirs could be used for sheet intrusions. We began by simulating the opening of three synthetic dikes of known geometry and location using an established deformation model for fracture sources. We then sought to reproduce the displacements and volume changes undergone by the fractures using the sources employed in the tomography methodology. Results of this validation indicate the volumetric point sources are not appropriate for locating fracture sources, however they may provide useful qualitative information on volume changes occurring in the surrounding rock, and therefore indirectly indicate the source location.