Pyroclastic Flow (Post-)Emplacement Thermal History Derived From Titanomagnetite Curie Temperatures: Mt. St. Helens and Soufrière Hills as Test Cases

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Julie Bowles1, Mike Jackson2, Sophie-Charlotte Luise Leonore Lappe1, Peter Solheid2 and Adam J Stinton3, (1)University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Geosciences, Milwaukee, WI, United States, (2)University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Institute for Rock Magnetism, Minneapolis, MN, United States, (3)Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Flemmings, Montserrat
Pumice blocks and ash matrix sampled from the 1980 pyroclastic flows at Mt. St. Helens and the 2010 flow at Soufrière Hills, Montserrat, display magnetic Curie temperatures (TC) that vary strongly with depth in the flow. We demonstrate that these TC variations result from variable degrees of cation ordering within Mg- and Al-bearing titanomagnetites, and that the degree of ordering is dependent on the emplacement temperature and post-emplacement thermal history of the sample. Curie temperatures are lowest at the tops of flows where rapid cooling has quenched in a relatively low degree of cation order. Samples that cooled more slowly at depth in the flow evolved towards a higher degree of cation order with a correspondingly higher TC. Isothermal annealing experiments in the laboratory have allowed us to document the time-temperature evolution of the cation ordering and Curie temperature, and we use this data in combination with conductive cooling calculations to forward model stratigraphic variations in TC as a function of emplacement temperature (e.g., Fig.1). Preliminary results show that modeled emplacement temperatures (Templ) are reasonably close to measured or estimated emplacement temperatures. Thermal demagnetization data from lithic clasts incorporated into some flows supports the modeled emplacement temperatures; a low-temperature overprint in the direction of the present-day field is removed at ~Templ. However, the documented variation of TC with thermal history means that care should be taken in interpreting this more traditional lithic-based paleomagnetic paleothermometry data. Modification of Curie and blocking temperatures both during natural cooling and during laboratory thermal treatments could affect lithic-based emplacement temperature estimates.