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Title: An unexpected journey : experimental insights into magma and volatile transport beneath Erebus volcano, Antarctica
Author: Iacovino, Kayla
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 4715
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2014
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Erebus is a well-studied open-vent volcano located on Ross Island, Antarctica (77◦ 32’ S, 167◦ 10’ E). The volcano is the focus of ongoing research aimed at combining petrologic data and experiments with surface gas observations in order to interpret degassing histories and the role of volatiles in magma differentiation, redox evolution, and eruptive style. This research focus has been driven in part by an abundance of studies on various aspects of the Erebus system, such as physical volcanology, gas chemistry, petrology, melt inclusion research, seismic, and more. Despite this large data set, however, interpretations of Erebus rocks, particularly mafic and intermediate lavas, which are thought to originate from deep within the magmatic plumbing system, have been hindered due to a lack of experimental data. Experimental petrology is a common tool used to understand volcanic plumb- ing systems and to tie observations made at the Earth’s surface to the deep pro- cesses responsible for driving volcanic activity. Experimental petrologists essen- tially recreate natural magma chambers in miniature by subjecting lavas to con- ditions of pressure, temperature, and volatile chemistry (P-T-X) relevant to a natural underground volcanic system. Because many important parameters can be constrained in the laboratory, the comparison of experimental products with naturally erupted ones allows for an understanding of the formation conditions of the rocks and gases we see at the surface. In this thesis, I have employed experimental and analytical petrological tech- niques to investigate the magmatic plumbing system of Erebus volcano. Broadly, the research is focused on volatiles (namely H2O, CO2, and S species) in the Ere- bus system: their abundances, solubilities, interactions, evolution, and ultimate contributions to degassing. Specifically, three key themes have been investigated, each employing their own experimental and analytical techniques. Firstly, the mixed volatile H2O-CO2 solubility in Erebus phonotephrite has been investigated under P-T-X conditions representative of the deep plumbing system of Erebus. Understanding the deep system is crucial because the constant supply of deeply derived CO2-rich gases combined with a sustained energy and mass input into the lava lake suggests a direct link between the phonolite lava lake and the volcano’s ultimate mantle source via a deep mafic plumbing system. Secondly, I have mapped the phase equilibria and evolution of primitive, inter- mediate, and evolved Erebus lavas. The chemistries of these experimental products span the full range of lavas on Ross Island and help to constrain magmatic evolu- tion from basanite to phonolite as well as to elucidate the geometry of the deep Ross Island plumbing system. Finally, lower-pressure experiments representing the shallow plumbing system at Erebus have been performed in order to understand the transport properties of sulfur in alkaline magma. Experiments were performed on natural Erebus basanite and phonolite, which represent the most primitive and evolved lavas from Erebus. A distinct cocktail of C-O-H-S fluid was equilibrated with each experiment, and a wide range of experimental oxygen fugacities was explored. Overall, experiments from this work are the first to place constraints on the en- tire magma plumbing system of Erebus volcano. In addition, experimental results foster a new understanding of non-ideal gas behavior at high pressure, the affinity of CO2 to deeply sourced rift magmas, and the effect of alkalis on fluid transport capabilities in melts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Erebus ; volcanism ; volatile solubility ; phase equilibria ; experimental petrology