Research ArticleGEOPHYSICS

Climbing the crustal ladder: Magma storage-depth evolution during a volcanic flare-up

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Science Advances  10 Oct 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 10, eaap7567
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap7567


Very large eruptions (>50 km3) and supereruptions (>450 km3) reveal Earth’s capacity to produce and store enormous quantities (>1000 km3) of crystal-poor, eruptible magma in the shallow crust. We explore the interplay between crustal evolution and volcanism during a volcanic flare-up in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ, New Zealand) using a combination of quartz-feldspar-melt equilibration pressures and time scales of quartz crystallization. Over the course of the flare-up, crystallization depths became progressively shallower, showing the gradual conditioning of the crust. Yet, quartz crystallization times were invariably very short (<100 years), demonstrating that very large reservoirs of eruptible magma were transient crustal features. We conclude that the dynamic nature of the TVZ crust favored magma eruption over storage. Episodic tapping of eruptible magmas likely prevented a supereruption. Instead, multiple very large bodies of eruptible magma were assembled and erupted in decadal time scales.

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