Decompression-Induced Crystallization of Hydrous Basalt

Friday, 19 December 2014
Rachel Teasdale, California State University Chico, Chico, CA, United States and Richard A. Brooker, University of Bristol, School of Earth Sciences, Bristol, United Kingdom
Decompression-induced crystallization of hydrous basalt during magma ascent from 1.5 kb (150 MPa) is quantified using isothermal decompression TZM experiments. The starting composition is a synthetic glass based on the 1921 Kilauea basalt, with 1% H2O added. In all cases, the liquidus phase is aluminous spinel, followed by clinopyroxene, then plagioclase. The plagioclase liquidus temperatures for isobaric (equilibrium) experiments range from 1175°C (at 1.5 kb) to 1217°C (at 200b), which are 35-75°C hotter than predicted by MELTS (Ghiorso & Sack 1995). Experiments were decompressed at 1kb/hr and quenched at 800, 400, 200, or 100b for three temperatures (1160°, 1150°, and 1140°C). Plagioclase crystals formed during decompression have long axes that range from less than 1 micron to 20 microns. Increasing decompression yields larger plagioclase crystal sizes and aspect ratios for experiments at equal temperatures. However, the number of crystals does not vary systematically, indicating that crystallization is dominated by growth rather than nucleation during decompression. Plagioclase compositions for experiments were measured with University of Bristol’s Electron Microprobe and the Hyperprobe with Field Emission Gun. Plagioclase compositions from equilibrium experiments (An60-An80) span the range of those from decompression experiments (An60-An73). Equilibrium experiments generated higher An compositions at lower pressures (500b) than at higher pressure (1.5kb) but do not systematically vary with temperature. Variations in plagioclase compositions are minimal above H2O saturation (100-200°C, based on Papale et al., 2006). Below H2O saturation, An content decreases slightly, by approximately 4% An. One application of this work is better characterization of groundmass crystallization in hydrous basalt as it traverses the conduit during eruption. This work also provides a means of distinguishing groundmass plagioclase related to decompression from crystals generated in the flow channel following eruption. These data will be useful in quantifying processes associated with a’a and pahoehoe flow morphologies.