Experimental constraints on volatile abundances in arc magmas and their implications for degassing processes
Published:January 01, 2003
B. Scaillet, M. Pichavant, 2003. "Experimental constraints on volatile abundances in arc magmas and their implications for degassing processes", Volcanic Degassing, C. Oppenheimer, D. M. Pyle, J. Barclay
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Recent phase equilibrium studies, combined with analytical and petrological data, provide rigorous constraints on the pre-eruptive P-T-fH20-fO2-fS2-fCO2 conditions of silicic to mafic arc magmas. Pre-eruptive melts show a broad negative correlation between temperature and melt H2O contents. Pre-eruptive melt S contents cluster around 100 ppm in residual rhyolitic liquids of silicic to andesitic magmas, and range up to 5000 ppm in more mafic ones. For the entire compositional spectrum, melt sulphur contents are almost independent of prevailing fO2. In contrast, they are positively correlated to fS2, in agreement with experimental observations. Using these intensive constraints, the composition of coexisting fluid phases has been modelled through a MRK equation of state. Pre-eruptive fluids in silicic to andesitic magmas have XH2O (mole fraction of H2O) in the range 0.65-0.95.XH2O decreases as pressure increases, whereas XCO2 increases up to 0.2-0.3. Pre-eruptive fluids in hydrous mafic arc magmas, such as high-alumina basalts, generally have similar mole fractions of H2O and CO2 at mid-crustal levels, with XH2O increasing only for magmas stored at shallow levels in the crust (<1 kbar). The sulphur content of the fluid phase ranges from 0.12 up to 6.4 wt% in both mafic and silicic magmas. For silicic magmas coexisting with 1-5 wt% fluid, this implies that more than 90% of the melt+fluid mass of sulphur is stored in the fluid. Calculated partition coefficients of S between fluid and melt range from 17 up to 467 in silicic to andesitic magmas, tending to be lower at low fO2, although exceptions to this trend exist. For mafic compositions, the sulphur partition coefficient is constant at around 20. The composition of both melt and coexisting fluid phases under pre-eruptive conditions shows marked differences. For all compositions, pre-eruptive fluids have higher C/S and lower H/C atomic ratios than coexisting melts. Comparison between volcanic gas and pre-eruptive fluid compositions shows good agreement in the high temperature range. However, to reproduce faithfully the compositional field delineated by volcanic gases, silicic to andesitic arc magmas must be fluid-saturated under pre-eruptive conditions, with fluid amounts of at least 1 wt%, whereas mafic compositions require lower amounts of fluid, in the range 0.1-1 wt%. Nevertheless, volcanic gases colder than 700 °C are generally too H2O-rich and S-poor to have been in equilibrium with silicic to andesitic magmas under pre-eruptive conditions, which suggests that such gases probably contain a substantial contribution from meteoric or hydrothermal water.
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Humans have long marvelled at (and feared) the odorous and colourful manifestations of volcanic emissions, and, in some cases, have harnessed them for their economic value. The degassing process responsible for these phenomena is now understood to be one of the key factors influencing the timing and nature of volcanic eruptions. Moreover the surface emissions of these volatiles can have profound effects on the atmospheric and terrestrial environment, and climate. Even more fundamental are the relationships between the history of planetary outgassing, differentiation of the Earth’s interior, chemistry of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and the origin and evolution of life. This book provides a compilation of 23 papers that investigate the behaviour of volatiles in magma, the feedbacks between degassing and magma dynamics, and the composition, flux, and environmental, atmospheric and climatic impacts of volcanic gas emissions.