Chemistry, mineralogy, and petrology of amphibole in Mount St. Helens 2004-2006 dacite: Chapter 32 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006

Professional Paper 1750-32

This report is Chapter 32 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006. For more information, see: Professional Paper 1750
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Edited by:
David R. Sherrod, William E. Scott, Peter H. Stauffer



Textural, compositional, and mineralogical data are reported and interpreted for a large population of clinoamphibole phenocrysts in 22 samples from the seven successive dacite spines erupted at Mount St. Helens between October 2004 and January 2006. Despite the uniformity in bulk composition of magma erupted since 2004, there is striking textural and compositional diversity among amphibole phenocrysts and crystal fragments that have grown from, partly dissolved in, or been accidentally incorporated in the new dacite. This study demonstrates that magma erupted throughout the current dome-building episode is the end product of small-scale, thorough mixing of multiple generations of crystal-laden magma. The mixed amphibole population provides important clues to magma conditions within the dacite magma reservoir prior to ascent and, to some extent, the dynamics of mixing and ascent. The predominant amphibole in new dome rock ranges from moderate- to high-alumina tschermakite and magnesiohastingsite compositions. As substantiated by major- and trace-element geochemistry and barometry calculations, this compositional range of crystals, along with plagioclase, orthopyroxene, and iron-titanium oxide, is likely to have precipitated from dacite magma over a range of pressures and temperatures consistent with experimentally determined phase relations (~900°C to ~800°C between 100 MPa and ~350-400 MPa or ~4-km and 13.5-15-km depth). Along with traceelement characteristics, textural and compositional data help to distinguish some low-alumina magnesiohornblende crystals as xenocrysts. The diverse range in composition of amphibole in all samples of 2004-6 dacite, and the complex zonation observed in many phenocrysts, suggests a well-mixed source magma with components that are subjected to repeated heating and (or) pressurization within this pressure-temperature window. Amphibole textural and compositional diversity suggest dynamic conditions in the upper-reservoir zone, which has been tapped steadily during ~2 years of continuous and monotonous eruption. This well-mixed crystal mush is likely to have been subjected to repeated injection of hotter magma into cooler crystal-laden magma while simultaneously assimilating earlier generations of dacitic roof material and surrounding gabbroic rock. Decompression-related reaction rims around subhedral, rounded, resorbed, and fragmented amphibole phenocrysts, regardless of composition, indicate that this mixed-crystal assemblage was being broken, abraded, and dissolved in the magma as a result of mechanical mixing before and during early stages of ascent from conduit roots extending into a mushy cupola of the shallow reservoir. In the earliest lava samples (October 2004), amphiboles with <3-μm rims associated with a glassier matrix than later samples suggest a slightly faster ascent rate consistent with the relatively high eruptive flux of the earliest phases of dome extrusion. Reaction rim widths of ~5 μm on amphibole in all subsequently extruded lava result from a steady influx and upward transport of magma from 3.5-2.5-km to ~1-km depth at rates of ~600 to ~1,200 m/day, through a conduit less than 10 m in radius. Slower ascent rates inferred from volumetric-flux and matrixcrystallization parameters are explained by a widening of the conduit to greater than 60 m radius within 1 km of the surface.

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Chemistry, mineralogy, and petrology of amphibole in Mount St. Helens 2004-2006 dacite: Chapter 32 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
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Professional Paper
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U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Volcano Hazards Program
28 p.
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United States
Other Geospatial:
Mount St. Helens