Mush remobilisation and mafic recharge: A study of the crystal cargo of the 2013–17 eruption at Volcán de Colima, Mexico

Hughes, Gerallt E.; Petrone, Chiara Maria; Downes, Hilary; Varley, Nick R. and Hammond, Samantha J. (2021). Mush remobilisation and mafic recharge: A study of the crystal cargo of the 2013–17 eruption at Volcán de Colima, Mexico. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 416, article no. 107296.



Volcán de Colima is a highly active stratovolcano at the western end of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Present-day activity consists of lava dome growth and destruction, lava flows, small explosions, and larger explosive Vulcanian eruptions; and it has been postulated that increased frequency of more mafic eruptions signals the run-up of c. 100-year eruptive ‘cycles’, terminating with a Plinian eruption such as those in 1818 and 1913. It is therefore important to understand the role played by mafic recharge during interplinian activity. We present new petrological and geochemical data for lava and ash from the 2013–17 phase of eruption. The uniform paragenesis and geochemical homogeneity of bulk rocks indicate efficient long-term homogenisation of magmas within the plumbing system, similar to the previous 1998–2005 eruptive products. Mineral chemistry however preserves complex patterns of magma recharge and mixing. Chemical and textural information support the interpretation of two magmatic end-members – an evolved end-member saturated with respect to Fesingle bondTi oxides and apatite and crystallising low-An plagioclase and pyroxenes in the Mg# 69–75 range; and a more primitive, mafic end-member crystallising high-An plagioclase and pyroxenes in the Mg# 77–88 range. Pyroxene textures and zoning patterns suggest mixing of the mafic melts with the evolved magma and remobilisation of the crystal mush. Two-pyroxene geothermometry constrains magmatic temperatures to c. 980–1000 °C for the evolved end-member, and c. 1020–1080 °C for the mafic end-member. Pressure estimates suggest crystallisation at 4–6 kbar, or c. 12–18 km depth. We interpret this to reflect periodic injections of mafic melts and remobilised crystals into evolved reservoirs in a mushy magma storage system in the mid-crust, in agreement with geophysical data suggesting a semi-molten, partially crystallised body at this depth. From 2015, an increase in reverse zoned crystals, indicative of mafic injection, suggests that these melts were injected into the system following the large eruption in July 2015. Our findings suggest that the intense July 2015 eruption may be linked to increased input of mafic magmas into the shallow system, indicating that mafic injections may be a key process governing the timing and style of eruption at Volcán de Colima.

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