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Petrology and Fe–Ti oxide reequilibration of the 1991 Mount Unzen mixed magma

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0377-0273(98)00133-4
  • Mixing
  • Oxide Temperatures
  • Geobarometry
  • Experiments
  • Phase Equilibria


Abstract A dacitic magma (64.5 wt.% SiO 2), a mixture of phenocryst-rich rhyodacite and an aphyric mafic magma, was erupted during the recent 1991–1995 Mount Unzen eruptive cycle. The experimental and analytical results of this study reveal additional details about conditions in the premixing and postmixing magmas, and the nature of the mixing process. The preeruption rhyodacitic magma was at a temperature of 790±20°C according to Fe–Ti oxide phenocryst cores, and at a depth of 6 to 7 km (160 MPa) according to Al-in-hornblende geobarometry. The mafic magma that mixed with the rhyodacite is found as andesitic (54 to 62 wt.% SiO 2) enclaves in the erupted magma and was essentially aphyric when intruded. Phase equilibria indicate that an aphyric andesite at 160 MPa is >1030°C (H 2O-saturated) and possibly as high as 1130°C (2 wt.% H 2O). The composition of the rhyodacite which was mixed with the andesite is estimated to lie between 67 and 69 wt.% SiO 2. Using these compositions and temperatures, the temperature of the Unzen magma after mixing is estimated to be at least 850° to 870°C. The groundmass Fe–Ti oxide microphenocrysts and those in pargasite-bearing reaction zones around biotite phenocrysts both give 890±20°C temperatures; the oxide–oxide contacts give temperatures of 910±20°C. The 900±30°C postmixing temperatures are consistent with phase-equilibria experiments which show that the magma was not above 930°C at 160 MPa. Our Fe–Ti oxide reequilibration experiments suggest that the mixing of the two magmas began within a few weeks of the eruption, which is a shorter time than is calculated using available diffusion data. There is also evidence that some mixing took place much closer to the time of extrusion based on the presence of unrimmed biotite phenocrysts in the magma.

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