Rhyolite generation prior to a Yellowstone supereruption: insights from the Island Park-Mount Jackson rhyolite series

Troch, J., Ellis, B. S., Mark, D. F. , Bindeman, I. N., Kent, A. J.R., Guillong, M. and Bachmann, O. (2017) Rhyolite generation prior to a Yellowstone supereruption: insights from the Island Park-Mount Jackson rhyolite series. Journal of Petrology, 58(1), pp. 29-52. (doi: 10.1093/petrology/egw071)

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The Yellowstone volcanic field is one of the largest and best-studied centres of rhyolitic volcanism on Earth, yet it still contains little-studied periods of activity. Such an example is the Island Park–Mount Jackson series, which erupted between the Mesa Falls and Lava Creek caldera-forming events as a series of rhyolitic domes and lavas. Here we present the first detailed characterisation of these lavas and use our findings to provide a framework for rhyolite generation in Yellowstone between 1·3 and 0·6 Ma, as well as to assess whether magmatic evolution hints at a forthcoming super-eruption. These porphyritic (15–40% crystals) lavas contain mostly sanidine and quartz with lesser amounts of plagioclase (consistent with equilibrium magmatic modelling via rhyolite-MELTS) and a complex assemblage of mafic minerals. Mineral compositions vary significantly between crystals in each unit, with larger ranges than expected from a single homogeneous population in equilibrium with its host melt. Oxygen isotopes in quartz and sanidine indicate slight depletions (δ18Omagma of 5·0–6·1‰), suggesting some contribution by localised remelting of hydrothermally altered material in the area of the previous Mesa Falls Tuff-related caldera collapse. The preservation of variable O isotopic compositions in quartz requires crystal entrainment less than a few thousand years prior to eruption. Late entrainment of rhyolitic material is supported by the occurrence of subtly older sanidines dated by single-grain 40Ar/39Ar geochronology. The eruption ages of the lavas show discrete clusters illustrating that extended quiescence (>100 kyr) in magmatic activity may be a recurring feature in Yellowstone volcanism. Ubiquitous crystal aggregates, dominated by plagioclase, pyroxene and Fe–Ti oxides, are interpreted as cumulates co-erupted with their extracted liquid. Identical crystal aggregates are found in both normal-δ18O and low-δ18O rocks from Yellowstone, indicating that common petrogenetic processes characterise both volcanic suites, including the late-stage extraction of melt from an incrementally built upper crustal mush zone.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mark, Professor Darren
Authors: Troch, J., Ellis, B. S., Mark, D. F., Bindeman, I. N., Kent, A. J.R., Guillong, M., and Bachmann, O.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Journal of Petrology
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1460-2415
Published Online:23 January 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Petrology 58(1):29-52
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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