Intracrustal Origin Of Arenal Basaltic Andesite In The Light Of Solid-Melt Interactions And Related Compositional Buffering

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Journal Article: Intracrustal Origin Of Arenal Basaltic Andesite In The Light Of Solid-Melt Interactions And Related Compositional Buffering

The origin of Arenal basaltic andesite can be explained in terms of fractional crystallization of a parental high-alumina basalt (HAB), which assimilates crustal rocks during its storage, ascent and evolution. Contamination of this melt by Tertiary calc-alkalic intrusives (quartz-diorite and granite, with 87Sr/86Sr ratios ranging 0.70381-0.70397, nearly identical with those of the Arenal lavas) occurs at upper crustal levels, following the interaction of ascending basaltic magma masses with gabbroic-anorthositic layers. Fragments of these layers are found as inclusions within Arenal lavas and tephra and may show reaction rims (1-5 mm thick, consisting of augite, hypersthene, bytownitic-anorthitic plagioclase, and granular titanomagnetite) at the gabbro-lava interface. These reaction rims indicate that complete 'assimilation' was prevented since the temperature of the host basaltic magma was not high enough to melt the gabbroic materials (whose mineral phases are nearly identical to the early formed liquidus phases in the differentiating HAB). Olivine gabbros crystallized at pressure of about 5-6 kbar and equilibrated with the parental HAB at pressures of 3-6 kbar (both under anhydrous and hydrous conditions), and temperatures ranging 1000-1100°C. In particular, 'deeper' interactions between the mafic inclusions and the hydrous basaltic melt (i.e., with about 3.5 wt.% H2O) are likely to occur at 5.4 (±0.4) kbar and temperatures approaching 1100°C. The olivine gabbros are thus interpreted as cumulates which represent crystallized portions of earlier Arenal-type basalts. Some of the gabbros have been 'mildly' tectonized and recrystallized to give mafic granulites that may exhibit a distinct foliation. Below Arenal volcano a zoned magma chamber evolved prior the last eruptive cycle: three distinct andesitic magma layers were produced by simple AFC of a high-alumina basalt (HAB) with assimilation of Tertiary quartz-dioritic and granitic rocks. Early erupted 1968 tephra and 1969 lavas (which represent the first two layers of the upper part of a zoned magma chamber) were produced by simple AFC, with fractionation of plagioclase, pyroxene and magnetite and concomitant assimilation of quartz-dioritic rocks. Assimilation rates were constant (r1=0.33) for a relative mass of magma remaining of 0.77-0.80, respectively. Lavas erupted around 1974 are less differentiated and represent the 'primitive andesitic magma type' residing within the middle-lower part of the chamber. These lavas were also produced by simple AFC: assimilation rates and the relative mass of magma remaining increased of about 10%, respectively (r1=0.36, and F=0.89). Ba enrichment of the above lavas is related to selective assimilation of Ba from Tertiary granitic rocks. Lava eruption occurred as a dynamic response to the intrusion of a new magma into the old reservoir. This process caused the instability of the zoned magma column inducing syneruptive mixing between portions of two contiguous magma layers (both within the column itself and at lower levels where the new basalt was intruded into the reservoir). Syneruptive mixing (mingling) within the middle-upper part of the chamber involved fractions of earlier gabbroic cumulitic materials (lavas erupted around 1970). On the contrary, within the lower part of the chamber, mixing between the intruded HAB and the residing andesitic melt was followed by simple fractional crystallization (FC) of the hybrid magma layer (lavas erupted in 1978-1980). By that time the original magma chamber was completely evacuated. Lavas erupted in 1982/1984 were thus modelled by means of 'open system' AFCRE (i.e., AFC with continuous recharge of a fractionating magma batch during eruption): in this case assimilation rates were r1=0.33 and F=0.86. Recharge rates are slightly higher than extrusion rates and may reflect differences in density (between extruded and injected magmas), together with dynamic fluctuations of these parameters during eruption. Ba and LREE (La, Ce) enrichments of these lavas can be related to selective assimilation of Tertiary granitic and quartz-dioritic rocks. Calculated contents for Zr, Y and other REE are in acceptable agreement with the observed values. It is concluded that simple AFC occurs between two distinct eruption cycles and is typical of a period of repose or mild and decreasing volcanic activity. On the contrary, magma mixing, eventually followed by fractional crystallization (FC) of the hybrid magma layer, occurs during an ongoing eruption. Open-system AFCRE is only operative when the original magma chamber has been totally replenished by the new basaltic magma, and seems a prelude to the progressive ceasing of a major eruptive cycle.

Corrado Cigolini

Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1998

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Corrado Cigolini. 1998. Intracrustal Origin Of Arenal Basaltic Andesite In The Light Of Solid-Melt Interactions And Related Compositional Buffering. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .