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The Mount Edgecumbe volcanic field in southeastern Alaska consists of 5-6 km3 (DRE) of postglacial pyroclasts that overlie Pleistocene lavas. All eleven pyroclast vents align with the long axis of the field, implying that the pyroclast magma conduits followed a crustal fissure. Most of these vents had previously erupted lavas that are compositionally similar to the pyroclasts, so a persistent magma system (chamber) had likely evolved by the onset of the pyroclastic eruptions. The pyroclastic sequence was deposited in about a millennium and is remarkable for a wide range of upward-increasing silica contents (51-72% SiO2), which is consistent with rise of coexisting magmas at different rates governed by their viscosity. Basaltic and andesitic lava flows have erupted throughout the lifetime of the field. Rhyolite erupted late; we infer that it formed early but was hindered from rising by its high viscosity. Most of the magmas-and all siliceous ones-erupted from vents on the central fissure. Basalt has not erupted from the center of the field during at least the latter part of its lifetime. Thus the field may illustrate basalt underplating: heat and mass flux are concentrated at the center of a stratified magma chamber in which a cap of siliceous melt blocks the rise of basalt. Major-element, strontium isotope, and mineral compositions of unaltered pyroclasts are broadly similar to those of older lavas of similar SiO2 content. Slightly fewer phenocrysts, inherited grains, and trace amphibole in pyroclastic magmas may be due simply to faster rise and less undercooling and degassing before eruption relative to the lavas. Dacite occurs only in the youngest deposits; the magma formed by mixing of andesitic and rhyolitic magmas erupted shortly before by the dacitic vents. ?? 1992.
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Pyroclastic deposits of the Mount Edgecumbe volcanic field, southeast Alaska: eruptions of a stratified magma chamber