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Probing the Toba super-eruption: Insights from oxygen isotope geochemistry and geobarometry
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Solid Earth Geology. (Berggrundsgeologi)
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Toba caldera located in north Sumatra, Indonesia, is the source of the largest volcanic eruption in the Quaternary (Rose & Chesner 1987). Its enormous volume of 2800 km3 has been a matter of debate for decades and it is still unclear where and how the Toba magma was assembled. This study documents oxygen isotope data for a suite of whole rocks and minerals erupted as part of the Young Toba Tuff (YTT), some 74 ka ago (cf. Chesner et al. 1991). Oxygen isotope data has been obtained in-situ from quartz crystals (SIMS), whole rocks (conventional), as well as quartz, feldspar, amphibole and biotite (laser fluorination). In combination with cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging on the quartzes, the data are used to test the relative roles of shallow magmatic processes such as crystal fractionation, magma-crust interaction and crystal recycling within the Toba magmatic system. In addition, thermobarometric calculations have been performed on plagioclase and amphibole phenocrysts from the YTT to help unravel the magma storage and plumbing system that gave rise to the YTT. The combined evidence will be used to derive a model for shallow magma evolution and storage at Toba some 74 ka ago.

The CL images of quartz crystals exhibit defined patterns of magmatic zoning, which broadly coincide with fluctuations in δ18O values in the quartz crystals, allowing correlation of textural and compositional data. Measured δ18Oquartz values range from 6.7 ‰ to 9.4 ‰, independent of position on crystal core or rim. Values for δ18Omagma have been calculated from quartz phenocrysts (assuming Δquartz-magma is 0.7 ‰ at magmatic temperatures). The lowest magma value is 6.0 ‰, apparently reflecting a primitive isotopic signal (Taylor & Sheppard 1986). The maximum calculated magma value is 8.7 ‰, indicating a significant crustal component and thus multiple sources to the Toba magmatic system. Several crystals, however, show internal zoning with gradually lower values towards the rims, pointing to a late-stage low-δ18O input, most probably from the shallow volcanic edifice. The crystals therefore record a complex and heterogeneous origin of the YTT magma, comprising a primitive and an evolved magmatic component topped up with several substantial crustal contributions to finally assemble the massive volume of the 74 ka Toba eruption.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 144 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 226
Keyword [en]
super-eruption, oxygen isotopes, geobarometry, Toba, magmatic plumbing, caldera
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-181327OAI: diva2:555795
Educational program
Master Programme in Earth Science
2011-05-25, Småland, Department of Earth Science, Uppsala University, Uppsala, 12:49 (English)
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-09-21 Created: 2012-09-21 Last updated: 2012-09-21Bibliographically approved

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