The evolution of young silicic lavas at Medicine Lake Volcano, California: Implications for the origin of compositional gaps in calc-alkaline series lavas

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

DOI: 10.1007/BF00572157



At Medicine Lake Volcano, California, the compositional gap between andesite (57-62 wt.% SiO2) and rhyolite (73-74 wt.% SiO2) has been generated by fractional crystallization. Assimilation of silicic crust has also occurred along with fractionation. Two varieties of inclusions found in Holocene rhyolite flows, hornblende gabbros and aphyric andesites, provide information on the crystallization path followed by lavas parental to the rhyolite. The hornblende gabbros are magmatic cumulate residues and their mineral assemblages are preserved evidence of the phases that crystallized from an andesitic precursor lava to generate the rhyolite lavas. The andesitic inclusions represent samples of a parental andesite and record the early part of the differentiation history. Olivine, plagioclase and augite crystallization begins the differentiation history, followed by the disappearance of olivine and augite through reaction with the liquid to form orthopyroxene and amphibole. Further crystallization of the assemblage plagioclase, amphibole, orthopyroxene, magnetite, and apatite from a high-SiO2 andesite leads to rhyolite. This final crystallization process occurs on a cotectic that is nearly horizontal in temperature-composition space. Since a large amount of crystallization occurs over a limited temperature interval, a compositional gap develops between rhyolite and high SiO2 andesite. Liquidus surfaces with shallow slopes in temperature-composition space are characteristic of several late-stage crystallization assemblages in the andesite to rhyolite compositional range. Experimentally produced plagioclase+ amphibole+orthopyroxene+magnetite and plagioclase+ augite+low-Ca pyroxene+magnetite cotectics have liquidus slopes that are nearly flat. At other calc-alkaline volcanic centers crystallization processes involving large compositional changes over small temperature intervals may also be important in the development of bimodal volcanism (i.e. the existence of a composition gap). At Mt. Mazama and Mt. St. Helens, USA and Aso Caldera and Shikotsu, Japan the amphibole-bearing assemblage was important. At Krakatau, Indonesia and Katmai, USA, an augite+orthopyroxene-bearing assemblage was important. In addition to its role in the production of a compositional gap between intermediate and rhyolitic lavas, the crystallization process increases the H2O content of the residual liquid. This rapid increase in residual liquid volatile content which results from the precipitation of a large proportion of crystalline solids may be an important factor among several that lead to explosive silicic eruptions. ?? 1986 Springer-Verlag.

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The evolution of young silicic lavas at Medicine Lake Volcano, California: Implications for the origin of compositional gaps in calc-alkaline series lavas
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