Quantitative evaluation of the effect of H2O degassing on the oxidation state of magmas

Friday, 19 December 2014: 10:35 AM
Rebecca Ann Lange and Laura Waters, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
The extent to which degassing of the H2O component affects the oxidation state of hydrous magmas is widely debated. Several researchers have examined how degassing of mixed H-C-O-S-Cl fluids may change the Fe3+/FeT ratio of various magmas, whereas our focus is on the H2O component. There are two ways that degassing of H2O by itself may cause oxidation: (1) the reaction: H2O (melt) + 2FeO (melt) = H2 (fluid) + Fe2O3 (melt), and/or (2) if dissolved water preferentially enhances the activity of ferrous vs. ferric iron in magmatic liquids. In this study, a comparison is made between the pre-eruptive oxidation states of 14 crystal-poor, jet-black obsidian samples (obtained from two Fe-Ti oxides) and their post-eruptive values (analyzed with the Wilson 1960 titration method tested against USGS standards). The obsidians are from Medicine Lake (CA), Long Valley (CA), and the western Mexican arc; all have low FeOT (1.1-2.1 wt%), rendering their Fe2+/Fe3+ ratios highly sensitive to the possible effects of substantial H2O degassing. The Fe-Ti oxide thermometer/oxybarometer of Ghiorso and Evans, (2008) gave temperatures for the 14 samples that range for 720 to 940°C and ∆NNO values of –0.9 to +1.4. With temperature known, the plagioclase-liquid hygrometer was applied and show that ≤ 6.5 wt% H2O was dissolved in the melts prior to eruption. In addition, pre-eruptive Cl and S concentrations were constrained on the basis of apatite analyses (Webster et al., 2009) and sulfur concentrations needed for saturation with pyrrhotite (Clemente et al., 2004), respectively. Maximum pre-eruptive chlorine and sulfur contents are 6000 and 200 ppm, respectively. After eruption, the rhyolites lost nearly all of their volatiles. Our results indicate no detectable change between pre- and post-eruptive Fe2+ concentrations, with an average deviation of ± 0.1 wt % FeO. Although degassing of large concentrations of S and/or Cl may affect the oxidation state of magmas, at the pre-eruptive levels in these 14 rhyolitic magmas, no effect is detected. Therefore, it can be robustly concluded that degassing of substantial amounts of the H2O component (≤ 6.5 wt%), by itself, does not induce oxidation in erupted magmas, particularly those more iron-rich than rhyolites (e.g., arc basalts).