The rheology and strength of bubbly magma govern eruption dynamics by determining the possibility of fragmentation of ascending magmas. They are also required parameters for understanding seismic monitoring. We measured the rheology and strength of high porosity rhyolitic magma at 500–950 °C. The measured shear modulus and strength are several orders of magnitude lower than bubble-free rhyolite melt, implying that high porosity magma cannot avoid fracturing during magma ascent. The occurrence of fractures is observed in the low-temperature magma (≤800 °C). In this temperature range, the measured attenuation is low. That is, the elastic energy originated by deformations avoids attenuation and is stored in the bubbly magma until released by fracturing (Q > 1). The newly found porosity-dependent strength based on our measurements comprehensively explains three different fragmentation criteria that have been previously proposed independently. Our measurements also show that the shear modulus becomes lower by increasing porosity, which can slow the shear wave velocity. These results suggest that knowing the attenuation of the seismic wave is useful to evaluate magma temperature and the possibility of a fragmentation event that may determine subsequent volcanic activities.
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