Crystal scavenging from mush piles recorded by melt inclusions

Wieser, Penny E.; Edmonds, Marie; Maclennan, John; Jenner, Frances E. and Kunz, Barbara E. (2019). Crystal scavenging from mush piles recorded by melt inclusions. Nature Communications, 10, article no. 5797.



Olivine-hosted melt inclusions are commonly used to determine pre-eruptive storage conditions. However, this approach relies on the assumption that co-erupted olivines have a simple association with their carrier melts. We show that primitive olivine crystal cargoes and their melt inclusions display a high degree of geochemical disequilibrium with their carrier melts at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai’i. Within a given eruption, melt inclusions trapped in primitive olivine crystals exhibit compositional diversity exceeding that in erupted lava compositions since 1790 CE. This demonstrates that erupting liquids scavenge crystal cargoes from mush piles accumulating diverse melt inclusion populations over timescales of centuries or longer. Entrainment of hot primitive olivines into cooler, evolved carrier melts drives post-entrapment crystallization and sequestration of CO2 into vapour bubbles, producing spurious barometric estimates. While scavenged melt inclusion records may not be suitable for the investigation of eruption-specific processes, they record timescales of crystal storage and remobilization within magmatic mush piles.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions