The permeable foam hypothesis is suggested by Eichelberger el al. (1986) to explain a major loss of water from rhyolithic magmas in the volcanic conduit. Evidence for the high-water content of the major portion of the magmas is herein examined and rejected. Eichelberger's hypothesis does not take into account the large (~2 orders of magnitude) viscosity change that would occur in the conduit as a result of water loss. It also requires that the permeable foam collapse and weld to form an obsidian that in thin section displays no evidence of the foam. An alternate hypothesis to explain the existence of small amounts of high water content rhyolite glasses in acid volcanoes is that rhyolite magmas are relatively dry (0.1-0.3% H2O) and that water enters the magma from the environment to produce a water-rich selvage which then is kneaded into the body of the magma. -Author
Additional publication details
Are extrusive rhyolites produced from permeable foam eruptions?