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Investigation into the Factors that affect the Viscosity of Magma

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Investigation into the Factors that affect the Viscosity of Magma Background. Magma is molten material beneath or within the earth's crust, from which igneous rock is formed. Magma can only be in places that are hot enough to melt rocks. When magma is formed it rises to the surface through the earth's crust. When magma reaches the earth's surface it is known as lava. It can erupt on the earth's surface, either on land or under the ocean, by a volcano or through a fissure. It solidifies into igneous rock that is also called lava. Before reaching the earth's surface, the mixture of solid and liquid rock, and gases, is known as magma. Lava is composed chiefly of silica and the oxides of aluminium, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. There are two types of magma granitic magma and basaltic magma. Both of these types of magma contain SiO2 (sulphur dioxide). Granitic magma is very thick and contains 70% Sulphur Dioxide it has a temperature of about 750((. Basaltic magma is runny and contains 45% Sulphur Dioxide it has a temperature of 1100((. The more SiO2 bonds the stronger the magma is, also meaning it is thicker. My Experiment is on the viscosity of magma and how you would measure it. Factors that could affect the viscosity of magma are Temperature and composition. Composition because magma contains a certain amount of water and temperature because this will tell me how runny the magma is at different temperatures. ...read more.


My starting temperature was 20(C and rising by 10 each time. My maximum temperature was 70(C. Once the glycerol was at the desired temperature, I put 25cm( of it into my measuring cylinder and dropped my marble in the top of it timing it to see how long it took to reach the bottom. I repeated the experiment three times to make it a fair test. The second experiment was on composition this was a lot harder to carry out. I used the exact same equipment that I used for temperature. In this experiment composition is the variable and I kept the temperature constant at room temp. I used 25cm( of diluted glycerol. I diluted the glycerol by using the ratio 24glycerol: 1water, 23glycerol: 2water. I used the same method for this experiment as I did for temperature, for each of the ratio's I repeated the experiment three times for each mix of glycerol and water. This helped to make sure that my results were reliable and fair. Prediction In my experiment I had to use glycerol instead of magma but there are things that can be related to each one like that the more viscous a substance is the thicker it is. There are two factors that affect the viscosity of glycerol, which means there are probably two factors that affect the viscosity of magma. The higher the temperature of the glycerol the less viscous it is. Granitic magma is hotter than basaltic so it is likely that it basaltic will be thicker. ...read more.


From this I can predict that basaltic magma is more viscous and is runnier. Evaluation The results I received backed up my prediction and I feel were very reliable. Although these results were good it would have been nearly impossible to get perfect results with the equipment we used. There are also two other main sources of error these are human error. When measuring out the ratios in the composition experiment I could of made some mistakes and not quite got the concentration correct. Another chance for human error would have been starting and stopping the stopwatch when the marble was dropped into the measuring cylinder and hit the bottom. It would have been impossible to get this exactly right unless we could use really high tech equipment, which could have been very expensive. The other type of possible error was to do with equipment. There was a lack of glycerol so for the composition experiment I had to use the glycerol from the temperature experiment this could have been a source of error. When heating the glycerol we had do it in a water bath which wasn't very accurate as once it was at the right temperature I had to carry it back over to my desk were I was working, by this time it was already starting to cool down. The last source of error I could easily recognise was that the marble and the measuring cylinder was a very tight fit and I think the marble sometimes got stuck on the edge of the tube. Other than these possible causes of error I feel the experiment went ahead very smoothly without any injuries or major problems. ...read more.

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