Crystallization of microlites and degassing during magma ascent: Constraints on the fluid mechanical behavior of magma during the Tenjo Eruption on Kozu Island, Japan

Satoshi Noguchi, Atsushi Toramaru, Taketo Shimano

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Bubble and crystal textures provide information with regard to the kinetics of the vesiculation and crystallization processes. They also provide insights into the fluid mechanical behavior of magma in a conduit. We performed textural (bubble and crystal) and compositional analyses of pyroclasts that were obtained from the Tenjo pyroclastic flow, which resulted on account of the eruption in 838 A.D. on Kozu Island, about 200 km south of Tokyo, Japan. Pyroclasts in one flow unit (300∼2,060 kg/m3; average density 1330 kg/m3) can be classified into three types on the basis of vesicle textures. Type I pyroclasts have small isolated spherical bubbles with higher vesicularities (67-77 vol.%) and number density (10.8-11.7 log m-3). Type II pyroclasts have vesicularities similar to type I (61-69 vol.%), but most bubbles exhibit evidences of bubble coalescence, and lower number densities than type I (8.9-9.5 log m3). Type III pyroclasts contain highly deformed bubbles with lower vesicularities (16-34 vol.%) and number densities (8.2-9.0 log m-3). The microlite volume fraction (DRE converted) also changes consistently across type I, type II, and type III as 0.06, 0.08, and 0.10-0.15, respectively. However, the number density of the microlites remains nearly invariant in all the pyroclast types. These facts indicate that the variation in the microlite volume fraction is controlled not by the number density (i.e., nucleation process), but by the size (i.e., growth process); the growth history of each type of microlite was different. Water content determinations show that the three types of pumices have similar H2O contents (2.6±0.2 wt%). This fact implies that all three types were quenched at nearly the same depth (35±5 MPa, assuming that the magma was water-saturated) in the conduit. If the crystal sizes are limited only by growth time, a variation in this parameter can be related to the residence time, which is attributed to the flow heterogeneity in the conduit. By assuming a laminar Poiseuille-type flow, these textural observations can be explained by the difference in ascent velocity and shearing motion across the conduit, which in turn results in the differences in growth times of crystals, degrees of deformation, and bubble coalescence. Consequently, for crystals in the inner part of the conduit, the crystal growth time from nucleation to quenching is shorter than that near the conduit wall. The vesicle texture variation of bubbles in types I, II, and III results from the difference in the deformation history, implying that the effect of degassing occurred primarily towards the conduit wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-449
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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