Magma storage under Iceland's Eastern Volcanic Zone
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 10:20 AM
The Eastern Volcanic Zone (EVZ) of Iceland is defined by a number of volcanic systems and large basaltic eruptions occur both through central volcanoes (e.g. Grímsvötn) and on associated fissure rows (e.g. Laki, Eldgjá). We have collected a large quantity of micro-analytical data from a number of EVZ eruptions, with the aim of identifying common processes that occur in the premonitory stages of significant volcanic events. Here, we focus on the AD 1783 Laki event, the early postglacial Saksunarvatn tephra and the sub-glacially erupted Skuggafjöll tindar and for each of these eruptions we have >100 olivine-hosted or plagioclase-hosted melt inclusion analyses for major, trace and volatile elements. These large datasets are vital for understanding the history of melt evolution in the plumbing system of basaltic volcanoes. Diverse trace element compositions in melt inclusions hosted in primitive macrocrysts (i.e. Fo>84, An>84) indicate that the mantle melts supplied to the plumbing system of EVZ eruptions are highly variable in composition. Concurrent mixing and crystallisation of these melts occurs in crustal magma bodies. The levels of the deepest of these magma bodies are not well constrained by EVZ petrology, with only a handful of high-CO2 melt inclusions from Laki providing evidence for magma supply from >5 kbar. In contrast, the volatile contents of melt inclusions in evolved macrocrysts, which are close to equilibrium with the carrier liquids, indicate that final depths of inclusion entrapment are 0.5-2 kbar. The major element composition of the matrix glasses shows that the final pressure of equilibration between the melt and its macrocryst phases also occurred at 0.5-2 kbar. The relationship between these pressures and seismic/geodetic estimates of chamber depths needs to be carefully evaluated. The melt inclusion and macrocryst compositional record indicates that injection of porphyritic, gas-rich primitive melt into evolved/enriched and degassed shallow magma bodies may be a common process. Formation and disaggregation of mush is also recorded in the eruptive products, and crystal zonation patterns indicate 1-10 day timescales between mush disaggregation and eruption, helping to constrain potential CO2 fluxes immediately prior to large EVZ events.