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Silica-saturated basaltic magma is the source of the voluminous lava flows, erupted frequently and rapidly in the primitive shield-building stage of activity, that form the bulk of each Hawaiian volcano. This magma may be available in batches that differ slightly in free silica content from batch to batch both at the same and at different volcanoes; differentiation by fractionation of olivine does not occur within this primitive magma. Silica-deficient basaltic magma, enriched in alkali, is the source of commonly porphyritic lava flows erupted less frequently and in relatively negligible volume during a declining and decadent stage of activity at some Hawaiian volcanoes. Differentiation by fractionation of olivine, plagioclase and augite is evident among these lavas, but does not account for the silica deficiency or the alkali enrichment. Most of the data of Hawaiian volcanism and petrology can be explained by a hypothesis that batches of magma are melted from crystalline paridotite by a recurrent process (distortion of the equatorial bulge by forced and free nutational stresses) that accomplishes the melting only of the plagioclase and pyroxene component but not the excess olivine and more refractory components within a zone of fixed and limited depth. Eruption exhausts the supply of meltable magma under a given locality and, in the absence of more violent melting processes, leaves a stratum of crystalline refractory components. ?? 1955.
Additional Publication Details
Composition and origin of basaltic magma of the Hawaiian Islands