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Menlo Park, CA, United States

Montgomery-Brown E.K.,Volcano Science Center | Syracuse E.M.,Los Alamos National Laboratory
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems | Year: 2015

Slow slip events (SSEs) are observed worldwide and often coincide with tectonic tremor. Notable examples of SSEs lacking observed tectonic tremor, however, occur beneath Ki¯lauea Volcano, Hawaii, the Boso Peninsula, Japan, near San Juan Bautista on the San Andreas Fault, California, and recently in Central Ecuador. These SSEs are similar to other worldwide SSEs in many ways (e.g., size or duration), but lack the concurrent tectonic tremor observed elsewhere; instead, they trigger swarms of regular earthquakes. We investigate the physical conditions that may distinguish these non-tremor-genic SSEs from those associated with tectonic tremor, including slip velocity, pressure, temperature, fluids, and fault asperities, although we cannot eliminate the possibility that tectonic tremor may be obscured in highly attenuating regions. Slip velocities of SSEs at Ki¯lauea Volcano (∼10-6 m/s) and Boso Peninsula (∼10-7 m/s) are among the fastest SSEs worldwide. Ki¯lauea Volcano, the Boso Peninsula, and Central Ecuador are also among the shallowest SSEs worldwide, and thus have lower confining pressures and cooler temperatures in their respective slow slip zones. Fluids also likely contribute to tremor generation, and no corresponding zone of high vp/vs has been noted at Ki¯lauea or Boso. We suggest that the relatively faster slip velocities at Ki¯lauea Volcano and the Boso Peninsula result from specific physical conditions that may also be responsible for triggering swarms of regular earthquakes adjacent to the slow slip, while different conditions produce slower SSE velocities elsewhere and trigger tectonic tremor. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Matthews N.E.,Volcano Science Center | Matthews N.E.,U.S. Geological Survey | Matthews N.E.,University of Stavanger | Vazquez J.A.,U.S. Geological Survey | Calvert A.T.,Volcano Science Center
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems | Year: 2015

The last supereruption from the Yellowstone Plateau formed Yellowstone caldera and ejected the >1000 km3 of rhyolite that composes the Lava Creek Tuff. Tephra from the Lava Creek eruption is a key Quaternary chronostratigraphic marker, in particular for dating the deposition of mid Pleistocene glacial and pluvial deposits in western North America. To resolve the timing of eruption and crystallization history for the Lava Creek magma, we performed (1) 40Ar/39Ar dating of single sanidine crystals to delimit eruption age and (2) ion microprobe U-Pb and trace-element analyses of the crystal faces and interiors of single zircons to date the interval of zircon crystallization and characterize magmatic evolution. Sanidines from the two informal members composing Lava Creek Tuff yield a preferred 40Ar/39Ar isochron date of 631.3 ± 4.3 ka. Crystal faces on zircons from both members yield a weighted mean 206Pb/238U date of 626.5 ± 5.8 ka, and have trace element concentrations that vary with the eruptive stratigraphy. Zircon interiors yield a mean 206Pb/238U date of 659.8 ± 5.5 ka, and reveal reverse and/or oscillatory zoning of trace element concentrations, with many crystals containing high U concentration cores that likely grew from highly evolved melt. The occurrence of distal Lava Creek tephra in stratigraphic sequences marking the Marine Isotope Stage 16-15 transition supports the apparent eruption age of ∼631 ka. The combined results reveal that Lava Creek zircons record episodic heating, renewed crystallization, and an overall up-temperature evolution for Yellowstone's subvolcanic reservoir in the 103-104 year interval before eruption. Key Points: 40Ar/39Ar and U-Pb dating of the Quaternary Lava Creek supereruption Sanidines and faces on zircon crystals reveal an ∼631 ka eruption age An up-temperature evolution in the 103-104 year interval before eruption © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Major J.J.,Volcano Science Center | Pierson T.C.,Volcano Science Center | Hoblitt R.P.,Volcano Science Center | Moreno H.,University of Los Andes, Chile
Andean Geology | Year: 2013

Explosive activity at Chaitén Volcano in May 2008 and subsequent dome collapses over the following nine months triggered multiple, small-volume pyroclastic density currents (PDCs). The explosive activity triggered PDCs to the north and northeast, which felled modest patches of forest as far as 2 km from the caldera rim. Felled trees pointing in the down-current direction dominate the disturbance zones. The PDC on the north flank of Chaitén left a decimeters-thick, bipartite deposit having a basal layer of poorly sorted, fines-depleted pumice-and-lithic coarse ash and lapilli, which transitions abruptly to fines-enriched pumice-and-lithic coarse ash. The deposit contains fragments of mostly uncharred organics near its base; vegetation protruding above the deposit is uncharred. The nature of the forest disturbance and deposit characteristics suggest the PDC was dilute, of relatively low temperature (<200°C), and to first approximation had a dynamic pressure of about 2-4 kPa and velocity of about 30-40 ms-1. It was formed by directionally focused explosions through the volcano's prehistoric, intracaldera lava dome. Dilute, low-temperature PDCs that exited the caldera over a low point on the east-southeast caldera rim deposited meters-thick fill of stratified beds of pumice-and-lithic coarse ash and lapilli. They did not fell large trees more than a few hundreds of meters from the caldera rim and were thus less energetic than those on the north and northeast flanks. They likely formed by partial collapses of the margins of vertical eruption columns. In the Chaitén River valley south of the volcano, several-meter-thick deposits of two block-and-ash-flow (BAF) PDCs are preserved. Both have a coarse ash matrix that supports blocks and lapilli predominantly of lithic rhyolite dome rock, minor obsidian, and local bedrock. One deposit was emplaced by a BAF that traveled an undetermined distance downvalley between June and November 2008, apparently triggered by partial collapse of a newly effused lava dome that started growing on 12 May. A second, and larger, BAF related to another collapse of the new lava dome on 19 February 2009 traveled to within 3 km of the village of Chaitén, 10 km downstream of the volcano. It deposited as much as 8-10 m of diamict having sedimentary characteristics very similar to the previous BAF deposit. Charred trees locally encased within the BAF deposits suggest that the flows were of moderate temperature, perhaps as much as 300°C. Erosion of the BAF deposits filling the Chaitén River channel has delivered substantial sediment loads downstream, contributing to channel instability and challenged river management. Source

Blatter D.L.,Volcano Science Center | Sisson T.W.,Volcano Science Center | Hankins W.B.,Volcano Science Center
Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology | Year: 2013

This study focuses on the production of convergent margin calc-alkaline andesites by crystallization-differentiation of basaltic magmas in the lower to middle crust. Previous experimental studies show that dry, reduced, subalkaline basalts differentiate to tholeiitic (high Fe/Mg) daughter liquids, but the influences of H2O and oxidation on differentiation are less well established. Accordingly, we performed crystallization experiments at controlled oxidized fO2 (Re-ReO2 ≈ ΔNi-NiO + 2) on a relatively magnesian basalt (8.7 wt% MgO) typical of mafic magmas erupted in the Cascades near Mount Rainier, Washington. The basalt was synthesized with 2 wt% H2O and run at 900, 700, and 400 MPa and 1,200 to 950 °C. A broadly clinopyroxenitic crystallization interval dominates near the liquidus at 900 and 700 MPa, consisting of augite + olivine + orthopyroxene + Cr-spinel (in decreasing abundance). With decreasing temperature, plagioclase crystallizes, Fe-Ti-oxide replaces spinel, olivine dissolves, and finally amphibole appears, producing gabbroic and then amphibole gabbroic crystallization stages. Enhanced plagioclase stability at lower pressure narrows the clinopyroxenitic interval and brings the gabbroic interval toward the liquidus. Liquids at 900 MPa track along Miyashiro's (Am J Sci 274(4):321-355, 1974) tholeiitic versus calc-alkaline boundary, whereas those at 700 and 400 MPa become calc-alkaline at silica contents ≥56 wt%. This difference is chiefly due to higher temperature appearance of magnetite (versus spinel) at lower pressures. Although the evolved liquids are similar in many respects to common calc-alkaline andesites, the 900 and 700 MPa liquids differ in having low CaO concentrations due to early and abundant crystallization of augite, with the result that those liquids become peraluminous (ASI: molar Al/(Na + K + 2Ca) > 1) at ≥61 wt% SiO2, similar to liquids reported in other studies of the high-pressure crystallization of hydrous basalts (Müntener and Ulmer in Geophys Res Lett 33(21):L21308, 2006). The lower-pressure liquids (400 MPa) have this same trait, but to a lesser extent due to more abundant near-liquidus plagioclase crystallization. A compilation of >6,500 analyses of igneous rocks from the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada batholith, representative of convergent margin (arc) magmas, shows that ASI increases continuously and linearly with SiO2 from basalts to rhyolites or granites and that arc magmas are not commonly peraluminous until SiO2 exceeds 69 wt%. These relations are consistent with plagioclase accompanying mafic silicates over nearly all the range of crystallization (or remelting). The scarcity of natural peraluminous andesites shows that progressive crystallization-differentiation of primitive basalts in the deep crust, producing early clinopyroxenitic cumulates and evolved liquids, does not dominate the creation of intermediate arc magmas or of the continental crust. Instead, mid- to upper-crustal differentiation and/or open-system processes are critical to the production of intermediate arc magmas. Primary among the open-system processes may be extraction of highly evolved (granitic, rhyolitic) liquids at advanced degrees of basalt solidification (or incipient partial melting of predecessor gabbroic intrusions) and mixing of such liquids into replenishing basalts. Furthermore, if the andesitic-composition continents derived from basaltic sources, the arc ASI-SiO2 relation shows that the mafic component returned to the mantle was gabbroic in composition, not pyroxenitic. © 2013 Springer-Verlag (outside the USA). Source

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