3D Morphochemistry of Basaltic/Rhyolitic Mixed Eruptions revealed via Microanalysis and X-ray microtomography.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Magma Mixing, a widespread petrogenetic process often operates in concert with fractional crystallisation and assimilation, to produce chemical and temperature gradients in magma. The injection of mafic magmas into felsic magma chambers is widely regarded as a key driver in the sudden triggering of what often become highly explosive volcanic eruptions. Understanding the mechanistic chain leading to such hazardous events is the goal of the present study of the morphochemistry of mingled lavas. This study involves the combination of X-ray microtomographic and electron microprobe analyses, to unravel the complex textures and attendant chemical heterogeneities of the mixed basaltic and rhyolitic eruption of Grizzly Lake in the Norris-Mammoth corridor of the Yellowstone Plateau Volcanic Field (YPVF). We observe that both magmatic viscous interfingering and disequilibrium crystallization/dissolution processes provide vital information on the timescale of interaction between the two magmatic components prior to the eruption. Mixed rocks in the YPVF appear to have a complicated history and evolution. Therefore a very considerable amount of chemical analysis was employed here. In addition, X-ray microtomography images show variegated textural features, such as vesicle and crystal distributions, filament morphology, the distribution of enclaves, and further textural features otherwise obscured in a simple 2D analyses. Here most effort was applied to the determination of the characterisation of mixing end members. Nevertheless, analysis of the hybrid portion has led to the unexpected discovery that mixing in the Grizzly Lake system was also characterised by the disintegration/dissolution of mafic crystals into the rhyolitic magma. The results of this study expose the complexity of mixing in natural magmatic systems, identifying several textural reactive factors that must be understood more deeply for our understanding of this potential eruptive trigger to proceed.