Abstract

Understanding the processes involved in the formation and maturation of upper crustal magma reservoirs, ultimately sourcing the largest volcanic eruptions on Earth, is one of the most fundamental aspects of volcanology. While such reservoirs are known to assemble incrementally over extended periods of time, debate persists regarding the time scales of melt preservation in the cold upper crust. If rapid cooling individually freezes incoming replenishing intrusions, accumulations of eruptible magma are impossible, precluding the construction of voluminous volcanic reservoirs for all but the highest magma emplacement rates. Recent numerical thermal models have been used to assess the viability of upper crustal silicic magma survival, and have suggested that supervolcanic reservoirs must form on geologically short time scales with anomalously high injection rates, and subsist only ephemerally, making their long-term evolution less predictable. Motivated by geological observations suggesting the contrary, we have improved upon these models by incorporating two fundamental features of natural systems not previously considered: (1) a nonlinear crystallization-temperature relationship adapted for upper crustal silicic magmas and (2) a temperature-dependent thermal conductivity. We demonstrate that the incorporation of both of these properties can allow an upper crustal reservoir to remain above its solidus for hundreds of thousands of years when fed by magma fluxes typical of large magmatic provinces. While the crystallization-temperature path plays the most significant role in maintaining a large pool of eruptible magma, the incorporation of temperature-dependent thermal properties significantly extends the lifetime of such reservoirs. Furthermore, while deeper emplacement levels (e.g., 10 km depth) can both extend magma survival and increase melt availability, we show that a 5 km depth can also provide an adequate magma storage environment. These results provide strong support for long-lived upper crustal mushes as a staging ground for accumulation of highly eruptible, crystal-poor silicic magmas, and further assert the evolutionary link between volcanic and plutonic systems.

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