The Plumbing System of a Highly Explosive Basaltic Volcano: Sunset Crater, AZ
Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
We seek to better understand highly explosive basaltic eruptions with specific focus on magmatic volatile solubility in alkali basalts and the magma plumbing system. Sunset Crater, an alkali basalt (~3.7 wt.% alkalis) scoria cone volcano, erupted explosively in 1085 AD. We analyzed 125 primary melt inclusions (MIs) from Sunset Crater tephra deposited by 2 subplinian phases and 1 Strombolian explosion to compare magma volatiles and storage conditions. We picked rapidly quenched free olivine crystals and selected large volume MIs (50-180 µm) located toward crystal cores. MIs are faceted and exhibit little major element composition variability with minor post entrapment crystallization (2-10%). MIs are relatively dry but CO2-rich. Water content varies from 0.4 wt.% to 1.5 wt.% while carbon dioxide abundance ranges between 1,150 ppm and 3,250 ppm. Most MIs contain >1 wt.% H2O and >2,150 ppm CO2. All observed MIs contain a vapor bubble, so we are evaluating MI vapor bubbles with Raman spectroscopy and re-homogenization experiments to determine the full volatile budget. Because knowledge of volatile solubility is critical to accurately interpret results from MI analyses, we measured H2O-CO2 solubility in the Sunset Crater bulk composition. Fluid-saturated experiments at 4 and 6 kbar indicate shallower entrapment pressures for these MIs than values calculated for this composition using existing models. Assuming fluid saturation, MIs record depths from 6 km to 14 km, including groupings suggesting two pauses for longer-term storage at ~6 km and ~10.5 km. We do not observe any significant differences in MIs from phases exhibiting different eruptive styles, suggesting that while a high CO2 content may drive rapid magma ascent and be partly responsible for highly explosive eruptions, shallower processes may govern the final eruptive character. To track shallow processes during magma ascent from depth of MI-entrapment up to the surface, we are examining MI re-entrants.