Rapid open-system assembly of a large silicic magma body: time-resolved evidence from cored plagioclase crystals in the Oruanui eruption deposits, New Zealand

Charlier, Bruce L. A.; Wilson, Colin J. N. and Davidson, Jon P. (2008). Rapid open-system assembly of a large silicic magma body: time-resolved evidence from cored plagioclase crystals in the Oruanui eruption deposits, New Zealand. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 156(6) pp. 799–813.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00410-008-0316-y


Rhyolitic pumices in the 26.5 ka Oruanui eruption (Taupo volcano, New Zealand) contain on average 10 wt % of crystals. About 2 wt % of the crystal population is feldspar crystals that display bluish-grey cloudy cores, the colour being imparted by exsolved needles of rutile. The volume of cloudy-cored feldspars thus amounts to ~1.0 km3 in a total magma volume of ~530 km3. The cored feldspars show great variability in detail, but in general have a rounded cloudy core bounded by a zone rich in glass and mineral inclusions, that are then overgrown by euhedral clear rims. Sr-isotopic variations in 8 representative crystals were measured on micromilled samples of selected growth zones in the cores and rims, and linked to feldspar compositions through microprobe traverses. The cloudy cores range from 87Sr/86Sr = 0.70547 to 0.70657, with compositions of An43 to An78. The overgrowth rims display wider variations: inner parts show extreme ranges in composition (maxima 87Sr/86Sr = 0.70764 and An78), while outer parts in 7 of 8 crystals are zoned, with outward-decreasing Sr-isotopic and An values to figures that are in accord with the bulk pumice and other, clear-feldspar values, respectively. The three parts of the crystals represent distinct regimes. The cloudy cores are inherited from an intermediate plutonic protolith that has been subjected to melting. The inner overgrowth rims were crystallised from a high temperature, relatively radiogenic melt derived from Mesozoic-Palaeozoic metasedimentary rocks (‘greywacke’). The outer euhedral rims reflect mixing into and continued growth within the growing Oruanui magma body. The cloudy-cored feldspars also contain rare zircon inclusions. Twenty one grains were recovered by HF digestion of a bulk sample of cloudy feldspars and analysed by SHRIMP for U-Th isotopes with which to calculate model ages. 18 of 21 crystals returned finite ages, the model-age spectrum of which is similar to the age spectra from free zircons in Oruanui pumices. Assembly of the Oruanui magma body was not only rapid (over ~40 kyr) but involved a wide open system, with significant contributions from part-melted intermediate-composition igneous intrusions (cloudy cores) and greywacke melts (inner overgrowths) being introduced into the magma body up to the point of eruption. Such open system behaviour contrasts with that proposed in models for comparably voluminous silicic magmas derived dominantly by fractionation (such as the Bishop Tuff) where the magma and its crystal cargo are better insulated thermally and chemically from country-rock interaction.

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