Geology and geochemistry of Late Quaternary volcanism in northern Harrat Rahat, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: implications for eruption dynamics, regional stratigraphy and magma evolution
H. Murcia, J. M. Lindsay, K. Németh, I. E. M. Smith, S. J. Cronin, M. R. H. Moufti, N. N. El-Masry, S. Niedermann, 2017. "Geology and geochemistry of Late Quaternary volcanism in northern Harrat Rahat, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: implications for eruption dynamics, regional stratigraphy and magma evolution", Monogenetic Volcanism, K. Németh, G. Carrasco-Núñez, J. J. Aranda-Gómez, I. E. M. Smith
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Harrat Rahat (<10 Ma) is one of the largest volcanic fields on western Arabia. In the north of the field, some of the youngest volcanic centres evolved through either point-like, complex or multiple aligned vents (i.e. along fissures), and have pyroclastic cones, lapilli fall deposits and/or lava flows associated with them. The products reflect dominantly Hawaiian eruptions, and only one centre experienced phreatomagmatism. Results from new 3He surface-exposure dating provide constraints on stratigraphy of the youngest (<0.3 Ma) products.
The rocks are compositionally alkali-basalt and hawaiite, with intra-plate basalt (prevalent mantle (PREMA)) affinity. Each eruption displays a distinct whole-rock composition in an overall linear trend. We suggest that the magma source for each centre is similar, and that composition of the products is different due to different degrees of fractionation. In a single eruption, the magma that reaches the surface first is the least evolved, with the most evolved magma erupting last. We also found that the most primitive magmas erupt less explosively. We think that the degree of magma evolution might correlate with ascent times, assuming that the more evolved magma spent more time en route. We suggest that magma ascent time is likely to be longer than that of other more primitive intra-plate basalts.
Supplementary material: Whole-rock chemistry results, mineral chemistry results and fractional crystallization modeling data are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3488988