Abstract

The 34 Ma Grizzly Peak Tuff in west-central Colorado preserves evidence for distinct compositional layers in a high-level magma chamber. Intracaldera tuff consists of a single cooling unit, at least 2.7 km thick, zoned from a high-silica rhyolite base to an eroded low-silica rhyolite top. Two horizons of heterogeneous tuff beneath wedges of caldera-collapse breccia contain fiamme of dacite to mafic latite along with the rhyolitic fiamme that make up the rest of the tuff. Compositional zoning defined by fiamme is a step function rather than a continuous gradient. Seven petrographic groups of fiamme each have distinct compositions separated by compositional gaps. As the same clusters and gaps are found in collections of fiamme from widely separated stratigraphic levels, step-function zoning must be intrinsic to the chamber rather than a consequence of the tapping process. We interpret the seven fiamme groups as seven separately converting layers in a density-stratified magma reservoir tapped by eruption of the Grizzly Peak Tuff. Excluding the thin heterogeneous tuff horizons, ∼3 km of caldera fill is drawn from the three most silicic layers, suggesting that the three rhyolitic layers were each at least 1 km thick in the magma chamber.

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