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From mush to eruption in centuries: assembly of the super-sized Oruanui magma body

Allan, Aidan S. R., Morgan, Daniel J., Wilson, Colin J. N. and Millet, Marc-Alban 2013. From mush to eruption in centuries: assembly of the super-sized Oruanui magma body. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 166 (1) , pp. 143-164. 10.1007/s00410-013-0869-2

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The magmatic systems that give rise to voluminous crystal-poor rhyolite magma bodies can be considered to operate on two contrasting timescales: Those governed by longer-term processes by which a magma acquires its chemical and isotopic characteristics (e.g., fractional crystallisation and assimilation), and those operating at shorter timescales during the physical accumulation of the melt-dominant magma body that finally erupts. We explore the compositional and textural relationships between amphibole and orthopyroxene crystals from the 25.4 ka, 530 km3 (magma) Oruanui eruption products (Taupo volcano, New Zealand) to investigate how processes related to the physical assembly of the pre-eruptive magma body are represented in the crystal record. Over 90 % of orthopyroxenes from the volumetrically dominant high-SiO2 (>74 wt%) rhyolite pumices record textural evidence for a significant disequilibrium event (partial dissolution ± resorption of cores and interiors) prior to the growth of 40–500 μm thick rim zones. This dissolution/regrowth history of orthopyroxene is recorded in the chemistry of co-crystallising amphiboles as a prominent inflection in the concentrations of Mn and Zn, two elements notably enriched in orthopyroxene relative to amphibole. Textural and chemical features, linked with in situ thermobarometric estimates, indicate that a major decompression event preceded the formation of the melt-dominant body. The decompression event is inferred to represent the extraction of large volumes of melt plus crystals from the Oruanui crystal mush/source zone at pressures of 140–300 MPa (~6–12 km depth). Orthopyroxene underwent partial dissolution during ascent before reestablishing in the melt-dominant magma body at pressures of 90–140 MPa (~3.5–6 km). We model Fe–Mg diffusion across the core-rim boundaries along the crystallographic a or b-axes to constrain the timing of this decompression event, which marked establishment of the melt-dominant magma body. Maximum modelled ages indicate that this event did not begin until ~1,600 years before eruption, consistent with constraints from zircon model-age spectra. Once extraction began, it underwent runaway acceleration with a peak extraction age of ~230 years, followed by an apparent period of stasis of ~60 years prior to eruption. The rapidity of the extraction and accumulation processes implies the involvement of a dynamic driving force which, in the rifted continental arc setting of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, seems likely to be represented by magma-assisted extensional tectonic processes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Supereruption Orthopyroxene Fe–Mg diffusion Oruanui eruption Crystal mush Magma chamber
Publisher: SpringerLink
ISSN: 0010-7999
Date of Acceptance: 26 February 2013
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:18

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