Water-driven undercooling during the interaction of mafic and felsic magmas
Friday, 19 December 2014
Mantle-derived mafic magmas are often invoked as a mechanism to transfer heat, mass and volatiles to felsic plutons that reside in the Earth’s crust. This process has been suggested as a means of sustaining shallow magmatic bodies and triggering volcanic eruptions. Various field observations suggest that mafic water-rich magmas might intrude a viscous felsic crystal-rich mush. This scenario might be expected to produce water advection from the crystallizing mafic magma to the felsic magma, leading to an increase of melt fraction in the felsic mush and subsequent mobilization whilst the mafic magma is simultaneously quenched. To investigate certain features of this scenario we conducted 24-hour experiments to establish the petrological evolution of a water-saturated (4 wt.% H2O in the interstitial melt) dacitic crystal mush (50-80 vol.% quartz crystals) subject to a volatile supply released from a water-saturated (≥ 6 wt.% H2O) andesitic magma at 950 °C and 500 MPa (15 km depth). Run products were characterised by SEM, EPMA, SIMS and Raman. Our results show unidirectional solidification textures (comb layering) as crystal nucleate at the mafic-felsic interface and grow into the mafic end-member. This is a direct effect of isothermal undercooling that results from a change in liquidus temperatures of the interacting magmas with changing water content. This is the first study exploring felsic-mafic magma interaction under “natural conditions” and shows that textures associated with mafic-felsic interactions found in the field may not be simply cooling-driven in origin. These experiments allow us to explore some essential concepts for understanding the origin of mafic enclaves, how volatiles contribute to crystal mush remobilisation within the Earth’s crust and can trigger explosive volcanic eruptions during recharge of mafic inputs into felsic reservoirs, and how degassing processes might be traced by textural features that indicate the direction of volatile transfer.