Morphology and composition of spinel in Pu'u 'O'o lava (1996-1998), Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

, , , and



The morphology and composition of spinel in rapidly quenched Pu'u 'O'o vent and lava tube samples are described. These samples contain glass, olivine phenocrysts (3-5 vol.%) and microphenocrysts of spinel (~0.05 vol.%). The spinel surrounded by glass occurs as idiomorphic octahedra 5-50 μm in diameter and as chains of octahedra that are oriented with respect to each other. Spinel enclosed by olivine phenocrysts is sometimes rounded and does not generally form chains. The temperature before quenching was calculated from the MgO content of the glass and ranges from 1150oC to 1180oC. The oxygen fugacity before quenching was calculated by two independent methods and the log f O2 ranged from -9.2 to -9.9 (delta QFM=-1). The spinel in the Pu'u'O'o samples has a narrow range in composition with Cr/(Cr+Al)=0.61 to 0.73 and Fe2+/(Fe2++Mg) =0.46 to 0.56. The lower the calculated temperature for the samples, the higher the average Fe2+/(Fe2++Mg), Fe3+ and Ti in the spinel. Most zoned spinel crystals decrease in Cr/(Cr+Al) from core to rim and, in the chains, the Cr/(Cr+Al) is greater in the core of larger crystals than in the core of smaller crystals. The occurrence of chains and hopper crystals and the presence of Cr/(Cr+Al) zoning from core to rim of the spinel suggest diffusion-controlled growth of the crystals. Some of the spinel crystals may have grown rapidly under the turbulent conditions of the summit reservoir and in the flowing lava, and the crystals may have remained in suspension for a considerable period. The rapid growth may have caused very local (μm) gradients of Cr in the melt ahead of the spinel crystal faces. The crystals seem to have retained the Cr/(Cr+Al) ratio that developed during the original growth of the crystal, but the Fe2+/(Fe2++Mg) ratio may have equilibrated fairly rapidly with the changing melt composition due to olivine crystallization. Six of the samples were collected on the same day at various locations along a 10-km lava tube and the calculated pre-collection temperatures of the samples show a 5oC drop with distance from the vent. The average Fe2+/(Fe2++Mg) of the spinel in these samples shows a weak positive correlation with decreasing MgO in the glass of these samples. The range in Cr2O3 (0.041-0.045 wt.%) of the glass for these six samples is too small to distinguish a consistent change along the lava tube. The spinel in the Pu'u 'O'o samples shows a zoning trend in a Cr-Al-Fe3+ diagram almost directly away from the Cr apex. This compares with a zoning trend in rapidly quenched MORB samples away from Cr coupled with decreasing Fe3+. The trend away from Cr displayed by spinel in rapidly quenched samples is in marked contrast to the trend of increasing Fe3+ shown by spinel in slowly cooled lava. 

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Morphology and composition of spinel in Pu'u 'O'o lava (1996-1998), Kilauea volcano, Hawaii
Series title:
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Year Published:
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
First page:
Last page: