Abstract

The Honeycomb Hills rhyolite dome in western Utah displays chemical and mineralogical features characteristic of a rare-element pegmatite magma. The lavas show extreme enrichments in such trace elements as Rb (≤1960 ppm), Cs (≤78), Li (≤344), Sn (≤33), Be (≤270), and Y (≤156). Phenocrysts (10%-50% by volume) include sanidine (Or66-70), plagioclase (Ab83-92), quartz, biotite approaching fluorsiderophyllite, and fluortopaz, as well as accessory phases common to highly differentiated granites and pegmatites, including zircon, thorite, fluocerite, columbite, fergusonite, and samarskite. Low temperatures (600 to 640 °C), coupled with high phenocryst and silica content, might normally preclude eruption due to the extremely high viscosity of the melt. However, high concentrations of fluorine (2%-3%) could domal lavas significantly reduce viscosity and allow eruption of domal lavas even after dewatering of the mama during the initial pyroclastic phase of the eruptive cycle. Fractionation of phenocrysts and accessory phases, for which partition coefficients have been measured, is sufficient to account for most compositional gradients inferred in the preeruptive magma body, although transport by a fluid phase formed a may have caused upward enrichments in Li, Be, and Cs. If the Honeycomb Hills magma had crystallized at depth, it would have formed a rare-element pegmatite.

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