Magma transfer: from mantle to surface
The viscosity of lavas erupted at volcanic arcs varies over orders of magnitude. A comparison of the relative abundance of viscous lava dome eruptions indicates that the average viscosity of arc lavas also varies considerably between arcs. It is shown that, for continental or transitional arcs with little within-arc crustal deformation and without underlying slab windows or tears, average lava viscosity is anticorrelated with average surface heat flux. The latter may be influenced by crustal thickness and crustal magma throughput. To constrain the relative contributions of these parameters, variations of average lava viscosity with average crustal thickness and plate convergence rate are assessed. While crustal thickness appears to have little effect on average lava viscosity, a good anticorrelation exists between average lava viscosity and plate convergence rate, with the exception of two arcs that show significant intra-arc crustal deformation. If plate convergence rate is a good proxy of the rate of melt generation within the mantle wedge, these first-order observations indicate that, where the rate of mantle melting is high, crustal magma throughput is rapid and efficient, resulting in low-viscosity melts migrating through a hot overriding crust; in contrast, where the rate of mantle melting is low, crustal magma transfer is slow and inefficient, resulting in high-viscosity melts that may frequently stall within a cool overriding crust prior to eruption. Uranium series geochemical evidence from dome lavas is presented and lends support to this interpretation. Finally, some explanations are offered for the observed average viscosity variations of arcs with underlying slab windows or tears and/or significant intra-arc crustal deformation.
Figures & Tables
Magmas are subject to a series of processes that lead to their differentiation during transfer through, and storage within, the Earth’s crust. The depths and mechanisms of differentiation, the crustal contribution to magma generation through wall-rock assimilation, the rates and timescales of magma generation, transfer and storage, and how these link to the thermal state of the crust are subject to vivid debate and controversy. This volume presents a collection of research articles that provide a balanced overview of the diverse approaches available to elucidate these topics, and includes both theoretical models and case studies. By integrating petrological, geochemical and geophysical approaches, it offers new insights to the subject of magmatic processes operating within the Earth’s crust, and reveals important links between subsurface processes and volcanism.