Genesis Of Lavas Of The Taupo Volcanic Zone, North Island, New Zealand

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Journal Article: Genesis Of Lavas Of The Taupo Volcanic Zone, North Island, New Zealand

The Taupo Volcanic Zone forms part of the Taupo-Hikurangi subduction system, and comprises five volcanic centres: Tongariro, Taupo, Maroa, Okataina and Rotorua. Tongariro Volcanic Centre is formed almost entirely of andesite while the other four centres contain predominantly rhyolitic volcanics and later fissure eruptions of high-Al basalt. Estimated total volume of each lava type are as follows: 2 km3 of high-Al basalt (< 0.1%); 260 km3 of andesite (< 2.5%); 5 km3 of dacite (< 0.1%); > 10,000 km3 of rhyolite and ignimbrite (> 97.4%). The location of the andesites and vent alignments suggest a source from a subduction zone underlying the area. However, the lavas differ chemically from island-arc andesites such as those of Tonga; in particular by having higher contents of the alkali elements, light REE and Sr and Pb isotopes. This suggests some crustal contamination, and it is considered that this may occur beneath the wide accretionary prism of the subduction system. Amphibolite of the subduction zone will break down between 80 and 100 km and a partial melt will rise. A multi-stage process of magma genesis is then likely to occur. High-Al basalts are thought to be derived from partial melting of a garnet-free peridotite near the top of the mantle wedge overlying the subduction zone, locations of the vents controlled largely by faults within the crust. Rhyolites and ignimbrites were probably derived from partial melting of Mesozoic greywacke and argillite under the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Initial partial melting may have been due to hydration of the base of the crust; the "water" having come from dehydration of the downgoing slab. The partial melts would rise to form granodiorite plutons and final release of the magma to form rhyolites and ignimbrites was allowed because of extension within the Taupo graben. Dacites of the Bay of Plenty probably resulted from mixing of andesitic magma with small amounts of rhyolitic magma, but those on the eastern side of the Rotorua-Taupo area were more likely formed by a higher degree of partial melting of the Mesozoic greywacke-argillite basement. This may be due to intrusion of andesite magma on this side of the Taupo volcanic zone.

J. W. Cole

Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1981

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J. W. Cole. 1981. Genesis Of Lavas Of The Taupo Volcanic Zone, North Island, New Zealand. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .