Draining mafic magma from conduits during Strombolian eruption
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
During and following eruption, mafic magmas can readily drain downward in conduits, dykes and lakes producing complex and coincident up-flow and down-flow textures. This process can occur at the top of the plumbing system if the magma outgases as slugs or through porous foam, causing the uppermost magma surface to descend and the magma to densify. In this scenario the draining volume is limited by the gas volume outgassed. Additionally, magma can undergo wholesale backflow when the pressure at the base of the conduit or feeder dyke exceeds the driving pressure in the chamber beneath. This second scenario will continue until pressure equilibrium is established. These two scenarios may occur coincidently as local draining of uppermost conduit magma by outgassing can lead to wholesale backflow because the densification of magma is an effective way to modify the vertical pressure profile in a conduit. In the rare case where conduits are preserved in cross section, the textural record of draining is often complex and great care should be taken in interpreting bimodal kinematic trends in detail. Lateral cooling into country rock leads to lateral profiles of physical and flow properties and, ultimately, outgassing potential, and exploration of such profiles elucidates the complexity involved. We present evidence from Red Crater volcano, New Zealand, and La Palma, Canary Islands, where we show that at least one draining phase followed initial ascent and eruption. We provide a rheological model approach to understand gravitational draining velocities and therefore, the timescales of up- and down-flow cycles predicted. These timescales can be compared with observed geophysical signals at monitored mafic volcanoes worldwide. Finally, we discuss the implications of shallow magma draining for edifice stability, eruption longevity and magma-groundwater interaction.