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Title: Predicting Homogeneous Bubble Nucleation in Rhyolite

Bubble nucleation is the critical first step during magma degassing. The resultant number density of bubbles provides a record of nucleation kinetics and underlying eruptive conditions. The rate of bubble nucleation is strongly dependent on the surface free energy associated with nucleus formation, making the use of bubble number density for the interpretation of eruptive conditions contingent upon a sound understanding of surface tension. Based on a suite of nucleation experiments with up to >1016bubbles per unit volume of melt, and using numerical simulations of bubble nucleation and growth during each experiment, we provide a new formulation for surface tension during homogeneous nucleation of H2O bubbles in rhyolitic melt. It is based on the Tolman correction with a Tolman length ofδ = 0.32 nm, which implies an increase in surface tension of bubbles with decreasing nucleus size. Our model results indicate that experiments encompass two distinct nucleation regimes, distinguishable by the ratio of the characteristic diffusion time of water,τdiff, to the decompression time,td. Experiments with >1013 m−3bubbles are characterized byτdiff/td≪ 1, wherein the nucleation rate predominantly depends on the interplay between decompression and diffusion rates. Nucleation occurs over a short time interval with nucleation rate peaks at high values. For experiments with comparatively low bubble number density the average distance between adjacent bubbles and the diffusion timescale is large. Consequently,τdiff/td≫ 1 and nucleation is nearly unaffected by diffusion and independent of decompression rate, with bubbles nucleating at an approximately constant rate until the sample is quenched.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 2395-2416
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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