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Partially melted granodiorite and related rocks ejected from Crater Lake caldera, Oregon

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2011

Charles R. Bacon
Charles R. Bacon, U.S. Geological Survey MS 910,345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025-3591, U.S.A.


Blocks of medium-grained granodiorite to 4 m, and minor diabase, quartz diorite, granite, aplite and granophyre, are common in ejecta of the ∼6,900 yrBP calderaforming eruption of Mount Mazama. The blocks show degrees of melting from 0–50 vol%. Because very few have adhering juvenile magma, it is thought that the blocks are fragments of the Holocene magma chamber's walls. Primary crystallisation of granodiorite produced phenocrystic pl + hyp + aug + mt + il + ap + zc, followed by qz + hb + bt + alkali feldspar (af). Presence of fluid inclusions in all samples implies complete crystallisation before melting. Subsolidus exchange with meteoric hydrothermal fluids before melting is evident in δ18O values of −3·4+4·9‰ for quartz and plagioclase in partially melted granodiorites (fresh lavas from the region have δ18O values of +5·8−+7·0‰); δ18O values of unmelted granodiorites from preclimatic eruptive units suggest hydrothermal exchange began between ∼70 and 24 ka. Before eruption, the granitic rocks equilibrated at temperatures, estimated from Fe-Ti oxide compositions, of up to ∼1000°C for c. 102–104 years at a minimum pressure of 100-180 MPa. Heating caused progressive breakdown or dissolution of hb, af, bt, and qz, so that samples with the highest melt fractions have residual pl + qz and new or re-equilibrated af + hyp + aug + mt + il in high-silica rhyolitic glass (75-77% SiO2). Mineral compositions vary systematically with increasing temperature. Hornblende is absent in rocks with Fe-Ti oxide temperatures >870°C, and bt above 970°C. Oxygen isotope fractionation between qz, pl, and glass in partially fused granodiorite also is consistent with equilibration at T≥900°C (Δ = +0·7 ± 0·5‰). Element partitioning between glass and crystals reflects the large fraction of refractory pl, re-equilibration of af and isolation or incomplete dissolution of accessory phases. Ba and REE contents of analysed glass separates can be successfully modelled by observed degrees of partial melting of granodiorite, but Rb, Sr and Sc concentrations cannot. Several samples have veins of microlite-free glass 1–5 mm thick that are compositionally and physically continuous with intergranular melt and which apparently formed after the climactic eruption began. Whole-rock H2O content, microprobe glass analysis sums near 100% and evidence for high temperature suggest liquids in the hotter samples were nearly anhydrous. The occurrence of similar granodiorite blocks at all azimuths around the 8 × 10 km caldera implies derivation from one pluton. Compositional similarity between granodiorite and pre-Mazama rhyodacites suggests that the pluton may have crystallised as recently as 0·4 Ma; compositional data preclude crystallisation from the Holocene chamber. The history of crystallisation, hydrothermal alteration, and remelting of the granitic rocks may be characteristic of shallow igneous systems in which the balance between hydrothermal cooling and magmatic input changes repeatedly over intervals of 104-106 years.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal Society of Edinburgh 1992

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