skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on April 1, 2025

Title: Evaluating the Role of Titanomagnetite in Bubble Nucleation: Rock Magnetic Detection and Characterization of Nanolites and Ultra‐Nanolites in Rhyolite Pumice and Obsidian From Glass Mountain, California
We document the presence, composition, and number density (TND) of titanomagnetite nanolites and ultra‐nanolites in aphyric rhyolitic pumice, obsidian, and vesicular obsidian from the 1060 CE Glass Mountain volcanic eruption of Medicine Lake Volcano, California, using magnetic methods. Curie temperatures indicate compositions of Fe2.40Ti0.60O4 to Fe3O4. Rock‐magnetic parameters sensitive to domain state, which is dependent on grain volume, indicate a range of particle sizes spanning superparamagnetic (<50–80 nm) to multidomain (>10 μm) particles. Cylindrical cores drilled from the centers of individual pumice clasts display anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility with prolate fabrics, with the highest degree of anisotropy coinciding with the highest vesicularity. Fabrics within a pumice clast require particle alignment within a fluid, and are interpreted to result from the upward transport of magma driven by vesiculation, ensuing bubble growth, and shearing in the conduit. Titanomagnetite number density (TND) is calculated from titanomagnetite volume fraction, which is determined from ferromagnetic susceptibility. TND estimates for monospecific assemblages of 1,000 nm–10 nm cubes predict 10^12 to 10^20 m^−3 of solid material, respectively. TND estimates derived using a power law distribution of grain sizes predict 10^18 to 10^19  m^−3. These ranges agree well with TND determinations of 10^18 to 10^20  m^−3 made by McCartney et al. (2024), and are several orders of magnitude larger than the number density of bubbles in these materials. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that titanomagnetite crystals already existed in extremely high number‐abundance at the time of magma ascent and bubble nucleation.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1839230 1839313
NSF-PAR ID:
10502183
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
American Geophysical Union
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume:
25
Issue:
4
ISSN:
1525-2027
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Nucleation of H2O vapor bubbles in magma requires surpassing a chemical supersaturation threshold via decompression. The threshold is minimized in the presence of a nucleation substrate (heterogeneous nucleation, <50 MPa), and maximized when no nucleation substrate is present (homogeneous nucleation, >100 MPa). The existence of explosively erupted aphyric rhyolite magma staged from shallow (<100 MPa) depths represents an apparent paradox that hints at the presence of a cryptic nucleation substrate. In a pair of studies focusing on Glass Mountain eruptive units from Medicine Lake, California, we characterize titanomagnetite nanolites and ultrananolites in pumice, obsidian, and vesicular obsidian (Brachfeld et al., 2024,https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GC011336), calculate titanomagnetite crystal number densities, and compare titanomagnetite abundance with the physical properties of pumice to evaluate hypotheses on the timing of titanomagnetite crystallization. Titanomagnetite crystals with grain sizes of approximately 3–33 nm are identified in pumice samples from the thermal unblocking of low‐temperature thermoremanent magnetization. The titanomagnetite number densities for pumice are 10^18 to 10^20 m^−3, comparable to number densities in pumice and obsidian obtained from room temperature methods (Brachfeld et al., 2024,https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GC011336'>https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GC011336). This range exceeds reported bubble number densities (BND) within the pumice from the same eruptive units (average BND ∼4 × 10^14 m^−3). The similar abundances of nm‐scale titanomagnetite crystals in the effusive and explosive products of the same eruption, together with the lack of correlation between pumice permeability and titanomagnetite content, are consistent with titanomagnetite formation having preceded the bubble formation. Results suggest sub‐micron titanomagnetite crystals are responsible for heterogeneous bubble nucleation in this nominally aphyric rhyolite magma. 
    more » « less
  2. This dataset archived with the Magnetics Information Consortium contains rock-magnetic data for rhyolitic pumice and obsidian from Glass Mountain, Medicine Lake, California, USA. Data were generated at Montclair State University and include magnetic susceptibility measured at 976Hz and 3904Hz, magnetic susceptibility vs. temperature, anhysteretic remanent magnetization (ARM), and magnetic hysteresis measurements. This dataset accompanies the publication Brachfeld, S., McCartney, K., Hammer, J.E., Shea, T., Giachetti, T., Evaluating the role of titanomagnetite in bubble nucleation: Rock magnetic detection and characterization of nanolites and ultra-nanolites in rhyolite pumice and obsidian from Glass Mountain, California, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GC011336. 
    more » « less
  3. Excessive phosphorus (P) applications to croplands can contribute to eutrophication of surface waters through surface runoff and subsurface (leaching) losses. We analyzed leaching losses of total dissolved P (TDP) from no-till corn, hybrid poplar (Populus nigra X P. maximowiczii), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus), native grasses, and restored prairie, all planted in 2008 on former cropland in Michigan, USA. All crops except corn (13 kg P ha−1 year−1) were grown without P fertilization. Biomass was harvested at the end of each growing season except for poplar. Soil water at 1.2 m depth was sampled weekly to biweekly for TDP determination during March–November 2009–2016 using tension lysimeters. Soil test P (0–25 cm depth) was measured every autumn. Soil water TDP concentrations were usually below levels where eutrophication of surface waters is frequently observed (> 0.02 mg L−1) but often higher than in deep groundwater or nearby streams and lakes. Rates of P leaching, estimated from measured concentrations and modeled drainage, did not differ statistically among cropping systems across years; 7-year cropping system means ranged from 0.035 to 0.072 kg P ha−1 year−1 with large interannual variation. Leached P was positively related to STP, which decreased over the 7 years in all systems. These results indicate that both P-fertilized and unfertilized cropping systems may leach legacy P from past cropland management. Experimental details The Biofuel Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) is located at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) (42.3956° N, 85.3749° W; elevation 288 m asl) in southwestern Michigan, USA. This site is a part of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (www.glbrc.org) and is a Long-term Ecological Research site (www.lter.kbs.msu.edu). Soils are mesic Typic Hapludalfs developed on glacial outwash54 with high sand content (76% in the upper 150 cm) intermixed with silt-rich loess in the upper 50 cm55. The water table lies approximately 12–14 m below the surface. The climate is humid temperate with a mean annual air temperature of 9.1 °C and annual precipitation of 1005 mm, 511 mm of which falls between May and September (1981–2010)56,57. The BCSE was established as a randomized complete block design in 2008 on preexisting farmland. Prior to BCSE establishment, the field was used for grain crop and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) production for several decades. Between 2003 and 2007, the field received a total of ~ 300 kg P ha−1 as manure, and the southern half, which contains one of four replicate plots, received an additional 206 kg P ha−1 as inorganic fertilizer. The experimental design consists of five randomized blocks each containing one replicate plot (28 by 40 m) of 10 cropping systems (treatments) (Supplementary Fig. S1; also see Sanford et al.58). Block 5 is not included in the present study. Details on experimental design and site history are provided in Robertson and Hamilton57 and Gelfand et al.59. Leaching of P is analyzed in six of the cropping systems: (i) continuous no-till corn, (ii) switchgrass, (iii) miscanthus, (iv) a mixture of five species of native grasses, (v) a restored native prairie containing 18 plant species (Supplementary Table S1), and (vi) hybrid poplar. Agronomic management Phenological cameras and field observations indicated that the perennial herbaceous crops emerged each year between mid-April and mid-May. Corn was planted each year in early May. Herbaceous crops were harvested at the end of each growing season with the timing depending on weather: between October and November for corn and between November and December for herbaceous perennial crops. Corn stover was harvested shortly after corn grain, leaving approximately 10 cm height of stubble above the ground. The poplar was harvested only once, as the culmination of a 6-year rotation, in the winter of 2013–2014. Leaf emergence and senescence based on daily phenological images indicated the beginning and end of the poplar growing season, respectively, in each year. Application of inorganic fertilizers to the different crops followed a management approach typical for the region (Table 1). Corn was fertilized with 13 kg P ha−1 year−1 as starter fertilizer (N-P-K of 19-17-0) at the time of planting and an additional 33 kg P ha−1 year−1 was added as superphosphate in spring 2015. Corn also received N fertilizer around the time of planting and in mid-June at typical rates for the region (Table 1). No P fertilizer was applied to the perennial grassland or poplar systems (Table 1). All perennial grasses (except restored prairie) were provided 56 kg N ha−1 year−1 of N fertilizer in early summer between 2010 and 2016; an additional 77 kg N ha−1 was applied to miscanthus in 2009. Poplar was fertilized once with 157 kg N ha−1 in 2010 after the canopy had closed. Sampling of subsurface soil water and soil for P determination Subsurface soil water samples were collected beneath the root zone (1.2 m depth) using samplers installed at approximately 20 cm into the unconsolidated sand of 2Bt2 and 2E/Bt horizons (soils at the site are described in Crum and Collins54). Soil water was collected from two kinds of samplers: Prenart samplers constructed of Teflon and silica (http://www.prenart.dk/soil-water-samplers/) in replicate blocks 1 and 2 and Eijkelkamp ceramic samplers (http://www.eijkelkamp.com) in blocks 3 and 4 (Supplementary Fig. S1). The samplers were installed in 2008 at an angle using a hydraulic corer, with the sampling tubes buried underground within the plots and the sampler located about 9 m from the plot edge. There were no consistent differences in TDP concentrations between the two sampler types. Beginning in the 2009 growing season, subsurface soil water was sampled at weekly to biweekly intervals during non-frozen periods (April–November) by applying 50 kPa of vacuum to each sampler for 24 h, during which the extracted water was collected in glass bottles. Samples were filtered using different filter types (all 0.45 µm pore size) depending on the volume of leachate collected: 33-mm dia. cellulose acetate membrane filters when volumes were less than 50 mL; and 47-mm dia. Supor 450 polyethersulfone membrane filters for larger volumes. Total dissolved phosphorus (TDP) in water samples was analyzed by persulfate digestion of filtered samples to convert all phosphorus forms to soluble reactive phosphorus, followed by colorimetric analysis by long-pathlength spectrophotometry (UV-1800 Shimadzu, Japan) using the molybdate blue method60, for which the method detection limit was ~ 0.005 mg P L−1. Between 2009 and 2016, soil samples (0–25 cm depth) were collected each autumn from all plots for determination of soil test P (STP) by the Bray-1 method61, using as an extractant a dilute hydrochloric acid and ammonium fluoride solution, as is recommended for neutral to slightly acidic soils. The measured STP concentration in mg P kg−1 was converted to kg P ha−1 based on soil sampling depth and soil bulk density (mean, 1.5 g cm−3). Sampling of water samples from lakes, streams and wells for P determination In addition to chemistry of soil and subsurface soil water in the BCSE, waters from lakes, streams, and residential water supply wells were also sampled during 2009–2016 for TDP analysis using Supor 450 membrane filters and the same analytical method as for soil water. These water bodies are within 15 km of the study site, within a landscape mosaic of row crops, grasslands, deciduous forest, and wetlands, with some residential development (Supplementary Fig. S2, Supplementary Table S2). Details of land use and cover change in the vicinity of KBS are given in Hamilton et al.48, and patterns in nutrient concentrations in local surface waters are further discussed in Hamilton62. Leaching estimates, modeled drainage, and data analysis Leaching was estimated at daily time steps and summarized as total leaching on a crop-year basis, defined from the date of planting or leaf emergence in a given year to the day prior to planting or emergence in the following year. TDP concentrations (mg L−1) of subsurface soil water were linearly interpolated between sampling dates during non-freezing periods (April–November) and over non-sampling periods (December–March) based on the preceding November and subsequent April samples. Daily rates of TDP leaching (kg ha−1) were calculated by multiplying concentration (mg L−1) by drainage rates (m3 ha−1 day−1) modeled by the Systems Approach for Land Use Sustainability (SALUS) model, a crop growth model that is well calibrated for KBS soil and environmental conditions. SALUS simulates yield and environmental outcomes in response to weather, soil, management (planting dates, plant population, irrigation, N fertilizer application, and tillage), and genetics63. The SALUS water balance sub-model simulates surface runoff, saturated and unsaturated water flow, drainage, root water uptake, and evapotranspiration during growing and non-growing seasons63. The SALUS model has been used in studies of evapotranspiration48,51,64 and nutrient leaching20,65,66,67 from KBS soils, and its predictions of growing-season evapotranspiration are consistent with independent measurements based on growing-season soil water drawdown53 and evapotranspiration measured by eddy covariance68. Phosphorus leaching was assumed insignificant on days when SALUS predicted no drainage. Volume-weighted mean TDP concentrations in leachate for each crop-year and for the entire 7-year study period were calculated as the total dissolved P leaching flux (kg ha−1) divided by the total drainage (m3 ha−1). One-way ANOVA with time (crop-year) as the fixed factor was conducted to compare total annual drainage rates, P leaching rates, volume-weighted mean TDP concentrations, and maximum aboveground biomass among the cropping systems over all seven crop-years as well as with TDP concentrations from local lakes, streams, and groundwater wells. When a significant (α = 0.05) difference was detected among the groups, we used the Tukey honest significant difference (HSD) post-hoc test to make pairwise comparisons among the groups. In the case of maximum aboveground biomass, we used the Tukey–Kramer method to make pairwise comparisons among the groups because the absence of poplar data after the 2013 harvest resulted in unequal sample sizes. We also used the Tukey–Kramer method to compare the frequency distributions of TDP concentrations in all of the soil leachate samples with concentrations in lakes, streams, and groundwater wells, since each sample category had very different numbers of measurements. Individual spreadsheets in “data table_leaching_dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen.xls” 1.    annual precip_drainage 2.    biomass_corn, perennial grasses 3.    biomass_poplar 4.    annual N leaching _vol-wtd conc 5.    Summary_N leached 6.    annual DOC leachin_vol-wtd conc 7.    growing season length 8.    correlation_nh4 VS no3 9.    correlations_don VS no3_doc VS don Each spreadsheet is described below along with an explanation of variates. Note that ‘nan’ indicate data are missing or not available. First row indicates header; second row indicates units 1. Spreadsheet: annual precip_drainage Description: Precipitation measured from nearby Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Weather station, over 2009-2016 study period. Data shown in Figure 1; original data source for precipitation (https://lter.kbs.msu.edu/datatables/7). Drainage estimated from SALUS crop model. Note that drainage is percolation out of the root zone (0-125 cm). Annual precipitation and drainage values shown here are calculated for growing and non-growing crop periods. Variate    Description year    year of the observation crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” precip_G    precipitation during growing period (milliMeter) precip_NG    precipitation during non-growing period (milliMeter) drainage_G    drainage during growing period (milliMeter) drainage_NG    drainage during non-growing period (milliMeter)      2. Spreadsheet: biomass_corn, perennial grasses Description: Maximum aboveground biomass measurements from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass and restored prairie plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2015. Data shown in Figure 2.   Variate    Description year    year of the observation date    day of the observation (mm/dd/yyyy) crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” replicate    each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 station    stations (S1, S2 and S3) of samplings within the plot. For more details, refer to link (https://data.sustainability.glbrc.org/protocols/156) species    plant species that are rooted within the quadrat during the time of maximum biomass harvest. See protocol for more information, refer to link (http://lter.kbs.msu.edu/datatables/36) For maize biomass, grain and whole biomass reported in the paper (weed biomass or surface litter are excluded). Surface litter biomass not included in any crops; weed biomass not included in switchgrass and miscanthus, but included in grass mixture and prairie. fraction    Fraction of biomass biomass_plot    biomass per plot on dry-weight basis (Grams_Per_SquareMeter) biomass_ha    biomass (megaGrams_Per_Hectare) by multiplying column biomass per plot with 0.01 3. Spreadsheet: biomass_poplar Description: Maximum aboveground biomass measurements from poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2015. Data shown in Figure 2. Note that poplar biomass was estimated from crop growth curves until the poplar was harvested in the winter of 2013-14. Variate    Description year    year of the observation method    methods of poplar biomass sampling date    day of the observation (mm/dd/yyyy) replicate    each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 diameter_at_ground    poplar diameter (milliMeter) at the ground diameter_at_15cm    poplar diameter (milliMeter) at 15 cm height biomass_tree    biomass per plot (Grams_Per_Tree) biomass_ha    biomass (megaGrams_Per_Hectare) by multiplying biomass per tree with 0.01 4. Spreadsheet: annual N leaching_vol-wtd conc Description: Annual leaching rate (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) and volume-weighted mean N concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) of nitrate (no3) and dissolved organic nitrogen (don) in the leachate samples collected from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2016. Data for nitrogen leached and volume-wtd mean N concentration shown in Figure 3a and Figure 3b, respectively. Note that ammonium (nh4) concentration were much lower and often undetectable (<0.07 milliGrams_N_Per_Liter). Also note that in 2009 and 2010 crop-years, data from some replicates are missing.    Variate    Description crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” crop-year    year of the observation replicate    each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 no3 leached    annual leaching rates of nitrate (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) don leached    annual leaching rates of don (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) vol-wtd no3 conc.    Volume-weighted mean no3 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) vol-wtd don conc.    Volume-weighted mean don concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) 5. Spreadsheet: summary_N leached Description: Summary of total amount and forms of N leached (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) and the percent of applied N lost to leaching over the seven years for corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2016. Data for nitrogen amount leached shown in Figure 4a and percent of applied N lost shown in Figure 4b. Note the fraction of unleached N includes in harvest, accumulation in root biomass, soil organic matter or gaseous N emissions were not measured in the study. Variate    Description crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” no3 leached    annual leaching rates of nitrate (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) don leached    annual leaching rates of don (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) N unleached    N unleached (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) in other sources are not studied % of N applied N lost to leaching    % of N applied N lost to leaching 6. Spreadsheet: annual DOC leachin_vol-wtd conc Description: Annual leaching rate (kiloGrams_Per_Hectare) and volume-weighted mean N concentrations (milliGrams_Per_Liter) of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the leachate samples collected from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2016. Data for DOC leached and volume-wtd mean DOC concentration shown in Figure 5a and Figure 5b, respectively. Note that in 2009 and 2010 crop-years, water samples were not available for DOC measurements.     Variate    Description crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” crop-year    year of the observation replicate    each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 doc leached    annual leaching rates of nitrate (kiloGrams_Per_Hectare) vol-wtd doc conc.    volume-weighted mean doc concentration (milliGrams_Per_Liter) 7. Spreadsheet: growing season length Description: Growing season length (days) of corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2015. Date shown in Figure S2. Note that growing season is from the date of planting or emergence to the date of harvest (or leaf senescence in case of poplar).   Variate    Description crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” year    year of the observation growing season length    growing season length (days) 8. Spreadsheet: correlation_nh4 VS no3 Description: Correlation of ammonium (nh4+) and nitrate (no3-) concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) in the leachate samples from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2013-2015. Data shown in Figure S3. Note that nh4+ concentration in the leachates was very low compared to no3- and don concentration and often undetectable in three crop-years (2013-2015) when measurements are available. Variate    Description crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” date    date of the observation (mm/dd/yyyy) replicate    each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 nh4 conc    nh4 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) no3 conc    no3 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter)   9. Spreadsheet: correlations_don VS no3_doc VS don Description: Correlations of don and nitrate concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter); and doc (milliGrams_Per_Liter) and don concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) in the leachate samples of corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2013-2015. Data of correlation of don and nitrate concentrations shown in Figure S4 a and doc and don concentrations shown in Figure S4 b. Variate    Description crop    “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” year    year of the observation don    don concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) no3     no3 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) doc    doc concentration (milliGrams_Per_Liter) 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    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.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Mafic volcanic activity is dominated by effusive to mildly explosive eruptions. Plinian and ignimbrite-forming mafic eruptions, while rare, are also possible; however, the conditions that promote such explosivity are still being explored. Eruption style is determined by the ability of gas to escape as magma ascends, which tends to be easier in low-viscosity, mafic magmas. If magma permeability is sufficiently high to reduce bubble overpressure during ascent, volatiles may escape from the magma, inhibiting violent explosive activity. In contrast, if the permeability is sufficiently low to retain the gas phase within the magma during ascent, bubble overpressure may drive magma fragmentation. Rapid ascent may induce disequilibrium crystallization, increasing viscosity and affecting the bubble network with consequences for permeability, and hence, explosivity. To explore the conditions that promote strongly explosive mafic volcanism, we combine microlite textural analyses with synchrotron x-ray computed microtomography of 10 pyroclasts from the 12.6 ka mafic Curacautín Ignimbrite (Llaima Volcano, Chile). We quantify microlite crystal size distributions (CSD), microlite number densities, porosity, bubble interconnectivity, bubble number density, and geometrical properties of the porous media to investigate the role of magma degassing processes at mafic explosive eruptions. We use an analytical technique to estimate permeability and tortuosity by combing the Kozeny-Carman relationship, tortuosity factor, and pyroclast vesicle textures. The groundmass of our samples is composed of up to 44% plagioclase microlites, > 85% of which are < 10 µm in length. In addition, we identify two populations of vesicles in our samples: (1) a convoluted interconnected vesicle network produced by extensive coalescence of smaller vesicles (> 99% of pore volume), and (2) a population of very small and completely isolated vesicles (< 1% of porosity). Computed permeability ranges from 3.0 × 10−13to 6.3 × 10−12m2, which are lower than the similarly explosive mafic eruptions of Tarawera (1886; New Zealand) and Etna (112 BC; Italy). The combination of our CSDs, microlite number densities, and 3D vesicle textures evidence rapid ascent that induced high disequilibrium conditions, promoting rapid syn-eruptive crystallization of microlites within the shallow conduit. We interpret that microlite crystallization increased viscosity while simultaneously forcing bubbles to deform as they grew together, resulting in the permeable by highly tortuous network of vesicles. Using the bubble number densities for the isolated vesicles (0.1-3−3 × 104 bubbles per mm3), we obtain a minimum average decompression rate of 1.4 MPa/s. Despite the textural evidence that the Curacautín magma reached the percolation threshold, we propose that rapid ascent suppressed outgassing and increased bubble overpressures, leading to explosive fragmentation. Further, using the porosity and permeability of our samples, we estimated that a bubble overpressure > 5 MPa could have been sufficient to fragment the Curacautín magma. Other mafic explosive eruptions report similar disequilibrium conditions induced by rapid ascent rate, implying that syn-eruptive disequilibrium conditions may control the explosivity of mafic eruptions more generally.

     
    more » « less