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Title: Magma chamber assembly and dynamics of a supervolcano : Whakamaru, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand
Author: Matthews, Naomi Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 2734
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis employs crystal-specific techniques, combined with field observations, petrology, geochemistry and numerical modelling to reconstruct the magmatic system associated with the ~ 340 ka Whakamaru supereruption, New Zealand. Comparisons are drawn with the ~ 74 ka Youngest Toba Tuff (YTT) supereruption. Whakamaru Group Ignimbrites contain five pumice types, characterised by different mineralogies and crystal contents. Pumice petrography and geochemistry indicate that basaltic magma mixing occurred, possibly triggering eruption. Geothermobarometers suggest an eruption temperature of ~ 770°C and magma storage at ~ 5 km depth. High-resolution thermal records from Ti-in-quartz analysis indicate a thermal pulse of ~ 100°C prior to eruption. Diffusion timescales show multiple recharge events with the most significant event occurring ~ 35 y prior to eruption. Zircon U-Pb data show that most crystallisation occurred at ~ 400 ka, with antecrysts and xenocrysts incorporated. Zircon trace-element data suggest multiple recharge events and complex mixing over ~ 100 ky, consistent with an incrementally growing reservoir. Oxygen-isotope data illustrate that zircon, quartz and feldspar crystallised together in equilibrium, with isotopically homogenous magma sources feeding the reservoir over time. Whakamaru and YTT tephra thickness and grain-size data were used in ash dispersal modelling. Results indicate the YTT eruption had a ~ 35 km column height and erupted volumes of 1500 – 1900 km³, with deposition from a co-ignimbrite phase; whereas Whakamaru had a Plinian column ~ 45 km high with SE dispersal and a minimum volume of ~ 400 km³. The widespread dispersal of large volumes of fine ash from both eruptions would have had global environmental consequences. The data are integrated to reconstruct a new Whakamaru magma reservoir model. The complex crystal records indicate the system was characterised by long periods of incremental assembly, mixing, recycling of material, and reactivation during multiple recharge episodes which perturbed the system and primed the magma for eruption.
Supervisor: Pyle, David Sponsor: Woolf Fisher Scholarship, New Zealand
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Earth sciences ; Petrology ; Geochemistry ; supervolcano ; magma reservoir ; ignimbrite ; crystals ; tephra