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Disintegration and Devolatilisation of Sandstone Xenolith in Magmatic Conduits: an Experimental Approach
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Solid Earth Geology. (CEMPEG)
2010 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Xenoliths preserve evidence of magma-crust interactions in magmatic reservoirs and conduits. They reveal processes of partial melting of country rock, and disintegration into magma. Widespread evidence for frothy xenoliths in volcanic deposits exists, and these evidently indicate processes of gas liberation, bubble nucleation and bubble growth. This report focuses on textural analysis of frothy sandstone xenoliths from Krakatau in Indonesia, Cerro Negro in Nicaragua, Cerro Quemado in El Salvador and from Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, and involves attempts to experimentally reproduce xenolith textures. To achieve this, magmatic conditions acting upon country rock in volcanoes are simulated by subjecting sandstones to elevated temperature and pressure in closed system-autoclaves. Subsequent decompression imitates magma ascent following xenolith entrainment, and is largely responsible for the formation of frothy xenolith textures.

The experiments show a range of successive features, such as partial melting, gas-pressure build up, bubble nucleation, growth and development of bubble networks. The experiments closely reproduced textures of natural xenoliths and help to assess the controlling P-T parameters that encourage efficient bubble growth. Conditions proved ideal between 850˚C and 870˚C and pressure release from 1 kbar. Such conditions limit bubble overprinting by secondary crystallization and melt infilling. Country rock lithology proved vital regarding gas pressure build-up and resulting bubble nucleation during decompression. In particular, increased water content and relict crystals in the melt produced appear to ease and promote gas liberation by enabling early and effective bubble nucleation. Moreover, experiments confirm a decisive role for bubble coalescence. These results attest to the great potential of country rock to develop interconnected bubble networks upon magma contact, exsolving large amounts of crustal volatiles into the magma. Volatile input involves a change in magma viscosity and thus an accompanied change in disruptive behaviour, and may hence be responsible for increased potential to cause explosive volcanic eruptions. Moreover, H2O and CO2 vapour are severe greenhouse gases, which seems to be added to the atmosphere from crustal rocks via recycling by volcanic activity, and may have yet underappreciated effects on Earth’s climate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 55 p.
, Självständigt arbete i Geovetenskap, Nr 2
Keyword [en]
xenolith, melting, bubbles, gas migration, crustal volatiles, magma-crust interaction, magma volatile budget, explosive eruption
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-160266OAI: diva2:449063
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-12-29 Created: 2011-10-19 Last updated: 2011-12-29Bibliographically approved

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